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PESHAWAR, April 3: Prominent writer, academician and columnist Dr Zahoor Ahmad Awan passed away after protracted illness at Lady Reading Hospital here on Sunday. He was 69. His funeral was held at Army Officers Colony in Peshawar Cantonment and was aid to rest at University of Peshawar. He left behind a widow, two sons and three daughters. He was born on January 4, 1942 in Hashtnagari locality of Peshawar in a modest family.

He did his masters in Urdu and English literature and Political Science from University of Peshawar and Master of Sciences in International Relations from the United States and PhD in Central Asian Studies.

He began his career as a lecturer in Urdu and retired as chairman of the department of Urdu Studies, University of Peshawar. He had to his credit 61 Hindko, Urdu and English books and publications besides a number of papers and columns. He also served as a member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission and won a wide respect for his integrity.

He was also a recipient of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz.

Dr Awan was the founding chairman of Gandhara Hindko Board, a vibrant literary, cultural and social welfare organisation working for preservation and promotion of Hindko language and culture since 1993.

Besides authoring several other books, he also translated into Urdu the work of great Hindko mystic poet Sain Ahmad Ali Peshawari and wrote another book “Pishor Pishorey” which describes the cultural life of Peshawar, the oldest living city of South Asia.

The late writer severed the society through his pen. His writings reflected what he did, saw or achieved during his 69-year life right from education, service, foreign tours, family life and interaction with friends and dignitaries.

By studying his writings one can easily understand how satisfied Dr Awan was with his life. Despite not having enough money, he had a great treasure of knowledge that he always tried to pass on to his MA, M.Phil and PhD students at the department of Urdu Studies and other educational institutions that he served during 40 years of his educational career in Peshawar, Mardan, Mansehra, Puran, Dera Ismail Khan, Sadda and Parachinar.

The late writer used to contribute two columns to as many reputed Urdu dailies of Peshawar under the titles of ‘Peshawar Nama’ and ‘Dil Pishori’. His columns were popular among readers as these spotlighted the social problems and issues of common people. At times he had to suffer because of his bold columns.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar has expressed his deep shock and sorrow over his sad demise. In a condolence message, the governor lauded the services, which the deceased rendered in the fields of education, literature and journalism.

He prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul and courage to the bereaved family to bear the irreparable loss with patience.