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LAHORE, Nov 27: A reference was held in memory of noted journalist, researcher, historian and critic Shafqat Tanvir Mirza on the premises of Pakistan Academy of Letters near China Chowk on Tuesday.

The reference was organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters. A number of people, including journalists, writers and intellectuals attended the reference.

Speakers on this occasion paid rich tributes to Shafqat Tanvir Mirza and the collective opinion was that Mr Mirza dedicated his life to the promotion of Punjabi language.

The function was presided over by writer and former PTV Lahore GM Mushtaq Sufi, who is currently heading Sachal Studio.

Mr Sufi said Mirza Sahib was a man of principles who never drifted away from his principled stand. “Mirza Sahib was considered an angry man but people who believe in principles are usually angry souls, however, he always let open a door to dialogue to every person.”

Secretary Punjabi Adabi Board Parveen Malik said Mr Mirza had mammoth work to his credit when it came to the promotion of Punjabi. He was an honest and upright journalist who was also a great researcher of Punjabi language and literature. “He was a man of principles and we are proud of him.”

She said Shafqat Tanvir Mirza was an affectionate teacher and was a great source of knowledge for his students. Malik said Mirza Sahib never made public his sacrifices for the Punjabi language though he strived for his cause against heavy odds.

Dr Nabila, an educationist from Oriental College Department of Punjabi, said the demise of Mirza Sahib left a big void. She said he wrote on many Sufi poets with a special focus on Shah Hussain. He used to encourage new writers.

Dr Arshad Iqbal, also a lecturer at Oriental College, said though Mirza Sahib also wrote poetry and plays in Urdu and Punjabi but his sole aim was research. He highlighted many issues related to Punjabi through his columns in Dawn. He said with Mirza Sahib’s death a golden chapter in the history of Punjabi had been closed.

Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, a noted Punjabi poet and former Radio Pakistan Lahore employee, said Mirza Sahib was a towering personality when it came to research on Punjabi. He had done extensive work on this subject.

Ms Bhatti told the audience that Mirza Sahib participated in many radio Lahore programmes on different occasions and shared his research and thoughts on Punjabi with the listeners.

Sanawar Chadar, a short story writer, said Shafqat Tanvir Mirza was a historian and a researcher whose struggle for Punjabi language could never be forgotten.

Qazi Javed, an intellectual, proposed that writings of Mirza Sahib published in Dawn should be printed in the shape of a book for posterity.

Pakistan Academy of Letters Director Altaf Qureshi said all short stories and poetry Mirza Sahib wrote should also be printed so that one could see that besides a researcher, critic, historian and a journalist he was also a great literary soul. He recollected a few memories, pleasant moments he spent in the company of Shafqat Tanvir Mirza with the audience.

The reference was also attended by the family members of Mirza Sahib.