LAHORE: Ibn Abdur Rehman, Pakistan’s most prolific journalist and iconic human rights defender, passed away here on Monday. He was 90.

He was laid to rest in the evening. His Qul will be held after Asr at his residence on Tuesday (today).

I.A. Rehman, as he was commonly known, had developed a few health issues like diabetes and high blood-pressure. He died of cardiac arrest on Monday morning. He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Born in Hasanpur (Har­yana, India) on Sept 1, 1930, Mr Rehman was still a student of intermediate at Aligarh when the partition brought him and his family to Lahore, where he got admission into Islamia College Civil Lines for graduation and later did his MSc (Physics) from the Punjab University.

Mr Rehman started writing for newspapers when he was still a student. He had a brief stint at the National Film Development Corporation before quitting it to formally join journalism, which he served for next seven decades and made an ever-expanding base of professional respect.

Despite his advance age, his commitment to profession and truth never dimmed. He regularly contributed to national papers, including Dawn, on almost all topics that mattered for the country’s stability and prosperity till his death. He was passionate about politics, human rights, sports, arts, culture, literature and films and wrote on all these topics with equal proficiency and intellectual clarity.

Mr Rehman was the most effective voice for the voiceless segments of society.

Noted journalist Najam Sethi concluded his tribute for I.A. Rehman, by saying he was “the light of our times”.

Always a committed leftist, Mr Rehman was a regular speaker on forums that debated leftist politics in the country. He was a lonely man when the Communist Party of Pakistan split and caused damage to the ideology.

Before joining the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in the nineties, Mr Rehman had served Viewpoint — a weekly that hosted intellectual pageantry of the left in the eighties, and later joined Pakistan Times as editor when Benazir Bhutto was voted to power.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021

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