Khawaja Zafar Iqbal
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Khawaja Zafar Iqbal is a journalist, peace activist and researcher in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (commonly known as Azad Kashmir). He focused on Kashmiri Diaspora, conflict resolution and human rights with special reference to Northern Pakistan. He was born in a remote village of the Rawalakot district.
After studying at the University of the Punjab he started his career as a journalist; got numerous awards and prizes for highlighting issues of voiceless segments of the society. After spending more than six years in promoting peace and human rights in his native state, he decided to explore the future of global media in Asian perspective by taking a course of studies at Nottingham Trent University, UK. When he entered into the realm of traditional journalism in, he did not confine himself to the age old journalistic trends. He introduced some new approaches in local journalism concentrating on women, children and minorities sufferings and also focused on social and political milieu.
His experience spans working for various regional and international news organizations, including electronic media. In attempts to raise the standard of journalism in the region he has delivered many lectures and presentations in remote rural areas regarding developmental journalism, covering human rights issues and disaster reporting. During his continued struggle, he has highlighted the sufferings of neglected sections of the society, particularly the victims of police and state terrorism. Consequently, on several occasions he has been threatened by extremist groups and state agencies.
He is founder of Press for Peace (PFP), a non-governmental organization and think tank, striving for the protection of human rights, freedom of press and environment in South Asia. The PFP struggles for the promotion of peace and cultivation of human values of tolerance, harmony and equality in Kashmir.
He has also volunteered for different prestigious international and regional humanitarian organizations such as ICRC, Oxfam. He took the issue of civilian prisoners of Azad Kashmir in Indian jails by highlighting their miseries and plight of their families. Further, his organization has struggled for the abolition of journalistic forced labour and implementation of wage board award in Pakistan controlled Kashmir.