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Faraz falls prey to march

January 18, 2013

Ahmed Faraz.–Dawn File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The 82nd birthday of poet laureate, the late Ahmed Faraz, was postponed, on Thursday, because of the long march and the prevailing tense situation in the city.

According to sources, the seminar was scheduled for January 17, at the National Language Promotion Department (NLPD), in sector H-8. Around 600 invitations had been distributed.

Senior lawyer Abid Hassan Minto was supposed to chair the seminar. Ahmed Faraz’s younger brother Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Barrister Syed Masood Kausar was supposed to chief guest the occasion. Besides literary personalities, Dr Anwar Ahmed, Dr Hamida Shaheen, Agha Nasir and Kishwer Naheed were the speakers of the event.

At the event, a poet would have been nominated for the Ahmed Faraz Literary Award 2012.

An official of NLPD, requesting not to be identified said that no doubt that Ahmed Faraz was the greatest poet of the last two decades.

“His (Ahmed Faraz) son, Shibli Faraz who is Chairperson Ahmed Faraz Trust made all the arrangements for the seminar but unfortunately most participants excused themselves because of the prevailing situation,” said the NLPD official.

The official expressed surprise that all literary figures excused themselves, even though the long march had been peaceful so far.

Ahmed Faraz was a dissentient poet and was arrested for reciting poems criticising military rulers. He also went into self-imposed exile to the United Kingdom, during the dictatorship of Ziaul Haq. During Benazir Bhutto’s rule, Faraz came back to Pakistan and was appointed Chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters and later chairperson of the National Book Foundation. He was awarded numerous national and international awards. He died from kidney failure on August, 25, 2008.

Faraz’s son, Shibli Faraz, while talking to Dawn confirmed that some of the guests refused to participate in the seminar because of the tension prevailing in the city, therefore the seminar was postponed.

“I am planning to hold the seminar in the first week of February,” said Shibli Faraz.