Man who coined capital’s name to be honoured posthomously after 63 years

Published March 13, 2023
Qazi Abdur Rehman Amritsari. — Picture courtesy: BBC Urdu
Qazi Abdur Rehman Amritsari. — Picture courtesy: BBC Urdu

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) took 63 long years to honour the family of Qazi Abdur Rehman Amritsari, who had coined the name of Islamabad in 1959.

Mr Qazi, a teacher, poet and author was born in 1908 in Amritsar in British India and later along with his family migrated to Pakistan and started living in Arifwalla.

When President Ayub Khan decided to set up a new federal capital in place of Karachi, he formed a three-member commission, which proposed the new site near Rawalpindi. The site was approved.

Then a weekly, Qandeel Lahore, edited by the late Majid Nizami sought suggestions from the public to propose a new name for the capital.

According to a report published by BBC Urdu last year, a large number of people responded and suggested various names, but the name coined by Qazi Abdur Rehman was finalised by the federal cabinet headed by President Ayub in February 1960.

The report stated that Mr Nizami tried to get appointment from President Ayub to hand over Rs1,000 prize money to Qazi Abdur Rehman, but to no avail and then he himself paid the money to the teacher.

Later, in response to the letter of Mr Qazi, the federal capital commission on April 15, 1960, wrote a letter to him, stating: “The undersigned is directed to refer to your letter dated the 11th March, 1960, addressed to President of Pakistan and to say that your name has been registered for a plot of in [new capital] Islamabad.”

The report said that Mr Qazi lived 30 years after receiving the letter in wait for the fulfillment of the president’s promise and died in 1990.

Like BBC, various media outlets highlighted the issue, but to no avail.

Two months after the said letter, in June 1960, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was formally established. But it did not pay any heed towards the commitment made by the president with the school teachers.

However, after 63 years, the CDA headed by Noorul Amin Mengal has finally decided to allot the much delayed plot to the family of Qazi Abdur Rehman.

“Yes, we are going to allot plot to the family of this great teacher, who proposed the name of Islamabad. I am disappointed as to why he was not given the promised plot in his life.

At the same time, I am happy that at least now we are going to fulfill the promise made in 1960 by the estate,“ the chairman of CDA told Dawn.

He said recently through one of his friends, he came to know about the unforgotten promise and then he immediately directed the wing concerned to trace out the family of Mr Qazi.

The chairman of CDA said that the family of the said teacher lives in Arif Walla and soon, the civic agency’s team will reach them.

“We will allot them a developed and encumbrance free plot,” he said and added that CDA is trying to invite the family of the said teacher in the upcoming Islamabad Literature Festival, where they will be honoured.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2023

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