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Irfan Husain (Urdu: عرفان حسین) is a Pakistani columnist and writer. He currently writes weekly columns for Dawn. Husain has been writing on a wide range of subjects for newspapers in Pakistan and elsewhere since 1970. As a civil servant, he used a number of pseudonyms, including "Mazdak".
Born in Amritsar, British India, in 1944, Husain migrated to the newly created state of Pakistan with his parents in 1947. His father, Dr Akhtar Husain Raipuri, was a Sanskrit scholar, a literary critic, and a short-story writer who received his PhD from Sorbonne University. His mother, Hameeda, was a writer as well, beginning her literary career late in life, after her husband's death in 1992. His decision to leave India for Pakistan was fatal initially until he received some support from his political friends.
After attending primary school in Karachi's St Patrick's School, Husain spent three years studying at a high school in Paris. Returning to Pakistan, Husain finished his high school studies in Karachi, and went to Turkey on a scholarship to study chemical engineering at the Middle East Technical University. He left after a year. Returning to Karachi, he joined Karachi University where he did a Master's degree in economics.
Immediately after graduating in 1967, Husain joined Pakistan's civil service where he remained for the next 30 years, working in a wide variety of jobs, ranging from being on Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's speech-writing team in the mid-1970s to being posted as Information minister at Pakistan's embassy in Washington during Benazir Bhutto's first government in 1989–90.
Throughout his working life, Husain has continued writing, and has been associated with Dawn on a freelance basis since 1991.
Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West. Arc Manor, 2011. ISBN 978-1604504781.