I missed the last rites of a hero.

Whose memory will outlast the spent lives

Of our dictators and fake politicians.

You were always clear on what really mattered,

Holding the mirror of truth to power

With your proverbial humility and clarity.

Like your best friend Asma you went

Just when we needed you most.

When we are directionless and the crisis

Generated by lies and hunger overwhelms us.

If only the cold earth could throw you back

Onto the barricades, we would

Be there to receive you joyously.

You always had time for everyone.

You taught me to be a writer as I stumbled

My way between two titans, yourself and Mazar Ali Khan, while writing for Viewpoint.

Later you would save lives from torture and terrorism,

And shine the clearest light on human suffering.

And the lesson you taught us — to never surrender.

Ahmed Rashid
Lahore

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2021

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