4 April 1942
Ahfaz-ur-Rahman (Urdu: احفاظ الرحمٰن ) (born 4 April 1942), is a Pakistani journalist, writer and poet. He has always struggled for the freedom of the press and for the rights of working journalists and other media workers. He has raised his voice both against the numerous dictatorial Pakistani regimes and the corporate media houses who refuse to give the journalists and other workers of the press industry their due.
Rahman has written many books and translations and which equally inspire for his efforts for press freedom and implementation of Wage Board Award. He has been tributed as "a rare breed" in the Pakistani media circles.
Rahman was born in Jabalpur, India and migrated with his family to Pakistan in 1947. During his secondary education he won the first prize in a competition for his article on the Urdu Poet and socialist Faiz Ahmad Faiz entitled 'Gandum kay khet, bachon kay haath aur shair," organised by well known literary magazine Afkar. He also won the first prize for "Paighamber kay naam", an article on the writings of Krishan Chander in a competition organised by Indian literary magazine 'Shair".
He was inspired by Sahir Ludhyanvi, Krishan Chander and other stalwarts of the Progressive Writers' Movement since his school days, it was not surprising that he came up as a student leader of the left-wing student organisation, National Students Federation (NSF) and took part in 1962 and 1964 student upsurges against General Ayub Khan's regime with zeal.
In 1969, Rahman landed in Beijing China for a job in the Foreign Languages Press, These were the years of Cultural Revolution. He stayed in China till 1972 (four years) and translated many famous books of Chinese literature as well as the selected writings of Mao Zedong and others. He also compiled a text book for Urdu for Peking University In 1985, he was invited back by the Chinese government to again work for the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing. This time he spent eight years there during which time, he translated numerous Chinese novels, plays, short stories, stories for children and biographies into Urdu.
Rahman began his activism a new upon returning to Pakistan from China at the end of 1972. During the historic journalist movement against Zia-ul-Haq's regime in 1977–78, Rahman went underground and organised that movement and had to escape arrest during that period. The movement had started in 1977, when the Daily Musawaat, Karachi, a newspaper with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leanings, was banned by General Zia's government.
During the Zia ul Haq regime, from December 1977 to July 1978, Rahman organised the movement for the freedom of the press.
On December 1977, journalists form all over the country came to Karachi to offer court arrest in batches. Rahman was the first journalist to be arrested in the first batch. And from 30 April 1978 to 30 May 1978 More than 120 journalists who came from various cities to court arrest in Lahore were arrested and sent to different jails of the Punjab province. Rahman was again among the first to be arrested and sent to Camp Jail. Later he was taken out of the jail and debarred from the Punjab province for six months. In July 1978 journalists form all corners came to Karachi for court arrest and were sent to different jails of the Sindh province. In the meantime, Rahman went underground to organise batches consisting of journalists, workers, peasants and student volunteers for court arrest. After the movement ended, Rahman was blacklisted by all major newspapers and magazines, as a result he faced economic difficulties due to a long period of unemployment.
After coming back to Pakistan in 1993, with the Zia era over, Rahman joined Daily Jang, the largest selling Urdu newspaper in Pakistan, as the Magazine Editor. In 2002, he was elected unopposed President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which is the sole representative body of Pakistani journalists and is affiliated with the International Federation Of Journalists (IFJ), the largest federation of journalists in the world. As the president of the PFUJ when he constantly protested against the greed of the newspaper and media house owners of the country for not giving the workers their due rights and for not implementing the wage board award as had been directed by the Government for long. He was terminated from services for his outspoken activism. After yet another period of unemployment, Rahman finally found a job in the Urdu newspaper Daily Express as the Magazine Editor. He also writes a weekly column that appears on Sundays in Daily Express, titled "Black and White" (Syaah o Safaid) In November 2007, Rahman was among the first journalists to be arrested during the protests against the Musharraf government's decision to ban several media channels. Rahman has worked to "revitalize" the Karachi Press Club and has "condemned the opportunist elements that were bent upon de-politicising the vibrant club".
In February 2008, in what was a first in the history of Pakistani literature, four of his newly published books were launched at Arts Council Karachi on the same day in a well-attended ceremony that attracted people, including poets, writers, journalists, trade unionists and activists.
At the sixth International Urdu Conference that took place at the Karachi Arts Council in November, 2013, a new collection of Rahman's poetry, titled 'Zinda Hai Zindagi' (Life, it is alive!) was launched. Leading poet and feminist Fehmida Riaz spoke on the occasion and said, “His poetry is an engaging account of our collective yearnings for what this nation has yet to achieve.” Zahida Hina and Shamim Hanfi also spoke on the occasion, about Rahman's literary works. Senior writer and Man Booker International Prize nominee for 2013, Intizar Hussain in his review of the collection, opined that through his poetry Rahman is "searching for hope amid despair".
In newspapers as
- Group Magazine Editor Daily Express, April 2005 till present
- Executive Editor Daily Amn, 2004–2005
- Group Magazine Editor Daily Jang, 1993–2004
- Editor Urdu Section, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China 1985–1993
- Assistant Editor Monthly Aalami Digest, Karachi 1979–84
- Magazine Editor Daily Mussawat, Karachi 1973–77
- Assistant Editor Weekly Al-Fatah, Karachi 1972–73
- Editor Urdu Section, Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, 1969–1972
- Sub-editor Weekly Akhbar e Jahan, Karachi 1966–68
Professional trade unionism
- President, Pakistan Fededral Union of Journalists, 2003-4 and 2004-5
- Secretary General of the Joint Action committee of PFUJ and APNEC, 1977–78 (movement for press freedom against Zia ul Haq)
- General Secretary, Karachi Union of Journalists 1976–78
- Joint Secretary, Karachi Union of Journalists, 1973-4 and 1974–75
- Member Executive Council National Students Federation (NSF), Pakistan
- Jang jari rahay gi, a collection of articles
Books,translation from English
- Chou En Lai, biography
- History of China
- A Jail Warden's Diary, prize-winning short stories from China
- Lunar Eclipse, prize-winning short stories from China
- Sunrise, a play by playwright Cao Yu
- Selected works of Mao Tse Tung, co-translator
- Family, a novel by writer Mao Dun
- Taras Bulba, Russian novel by Nikolai Gogol
- World of Stories by Bulgarian writer Angel Karralichev
- Autumn in Spring, collection of short stories by Chinese writer Ba Jin
- Qui Yuan, classical Chinese play by writer Ko Mo Ro
- Three Conceited Kittens, Chinese novel for children
- The Adventures of the Rag Doll, Chinese novel for children
- Neemoo Keemoo, a short novel for children
- Great Britain, book of general knowledge for Pakistani children
- Also translated about 50 pictorial Chinese books for children as well as books of Chinese folk tales
Original Urdu Work
- Written hundreds of articles on political, social and cultural themes published in leading Urdu journals and newspapers
- 30 short stories in literary magazines
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ahfaz-ur-Rahman.|
- "Dialogue, NOS, The News International". Jang.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
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- "AsiaMedia, Sunday, April 4, 2004. Pakistan: PFUJ condemns victimization". Asiamedia.ucla.edu. 2004-04-04. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "Pakistan Tribune". Paktribune.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
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- "‘Zinda Hai Zindagi’: Ahfazur Rahman’s poems hide messages of misfortunes in an optimistic title – The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Bold writings will help reduce acts of terrorism, says Qaim". Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Books and Authors, Dawn". dawn.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "DAWN Web Mail". Amn.com.pk. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
- "Detained French journalists announce hunger strike, Pakistani journalist's whereabouts remain unknown". IFEX. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "AsiaMedia :: PAKISTAN: Dialogue on press freedom urged". Asiamedia.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2013-06-04.