PIDE Memorial in Memory of Public Intellectual I. A Rehman
Nadeem ul Haq
(Resident director Aurat Foundation)
Shahid Hafeez Kardar
(Pakistani economist/Former provincial finance minister)
(Pakistani poet, civil society activist)
Ikram ul Haq
(Writer/Advocate Supreme Court)
Shahnaz Wazir Ali
Dr. Pervaiz Tahir
(Writer and a senior political economist)
Speakers’ Opinion on I.A. Rahman
- A. Rehman was such a luminary figure in the human rights journey in Pakistan.
- A. Rehman was a very down-to-earth, good-humored man.
- A. Rehman was highly respected among the left-leaning and liberal humanist circles of Pakistan’s intelligentsia.
- A. Rehman had been a strong pillar of human rights activists.
- A. Rehman is a legacy that will live on in every struggle for democracy and equality.
Rehman Sahab will always be in the mind of people who will share his stories. PIDE organized a memorial in memory of a national hero who left us on 12 April, tried to pay tribute, and recalled his unforgettable memories. PIDE invited Rehman Sahab colleagues who are lucky enough to have stories to share about a legend I. A. Rehman.
- Nadeem ul Haque paid his tribute to this real unsung hero of this country and said Rehman Sahab influenced many people and left a very important legacy behind him and the life of such people should be celebrated. He created the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan(HRCP) and ran many newspapers. He was probably a Darwais in Pakistan. Our educational institute should remember such heroes and narrate their stories to the upcoming generation because role models are very important in one’s life.
- Mehnaz Rehman remembered his active role in HRCP. She said that I.A. Rehman attended many workshops of Aurat foundation as a resource person. He made many sacrifices for the freedom of speech at the time when politics was banned for such organizations. He created awareness about fundamental rights through the human rights platform. He touched so many lives. He was a mentor to everybody. As far as HRCP is concerned, it was privileged for this organization that Reham Sahab took this organization in hand and the kind of credibility HRCP has today is because of him.
- Hina Jilani said his demise is a great loss for people who depend on him. It is not very easy to carry these activities without him.
- Senator Farhatullah Babar remembered him as an iconic human rights defender, great intellectual public figure, and bridge of peace between Pakistan and India. He was a true inspiration for the people. He was more than willing to share his wisdom with everybody who would ask for it. I. A. Rehman believed that peace and democracy are interlinked. He was a great advocate of trade between India and Pakistan.
- “It was a privilege to know a man like I.A Rehman”, Shahid Hafiz Kardar. He quoted I. A. Rehman’s words for Pakistan’s politics from 1981 “If you want to put together a story for a movie and take it to Hollywood, it would be rejected as bad script”. He said he could never forget the kind of advice, guidance, and wisdom he used to get from him.
He had the ability that he would speak to you on subjects that interest you. He was fearless yet composed and that composure was a relation of wisdom he had. He believed that all differences are just ideological and structural, he never kept a grudge against individuals. HRCP already issued I. A. Rehman research grant but he asked Pakistan’s established academic institution to come forward and dedicate some sort of scholarship or special research grant on Rehman’s name. He became the voice of many people who can’t take a fight for their rights.
- Aliya Khan believed that until or unless our researches do not reflect common people live, we are only pilling up our shelves.
- Ikram ul Haq expressed his grief on I. A. Rehman’s demise and said “Rehman Sahib spoke the truth, even though twice he had to go to jail for it. He suffered a great deal, but I never heard him complain. It takes courage to make sacrifices for the principles one professes”.
“Many years ago, I.A. Rehman said to my young, overconfident, and impatient self, “This [struggle for human rights] is a marathon, not a sprint.” Rehman’s long, victorious marathon came to an end on April 12, 2021”.
We should celebrate Rehman Festival to pay tribute, and recalled his unforgettable memories.
- Shahnaz Wazir Ali remembered him with names such as “an icon”, “a crusader” and “a champion”. She recalled his struggles for human rights particularly about women’s human rights. I.A Rehman always said, “Activism is just one of history”. His contribution to the human rights movement was remarkable. He bought clarity that we could face the same suppression in the civil regime as we experienced in a military dictatorship. She considered herself fortunate to live at the same time as I. A. Rehman and it was a great privilege to know a person like him who was always there to light a torch in the dark when there was not a single ray of hope. He showed new paths to our generation which can’t be found without him.
- He was a mentor to many people and one of them is Pervaiz Tahir. As we know economists sometimes write in a language that readers don’t understand, Rehman Sahab sort of walked him through many writings as to how to convey a message in the same manner”.
Rehman Sahab’s life story is a story of the progressive intelligentsia in Pakistan who tried to define what kind of Pakistan we should be having”. He had a great passion for reading. He fought a long fight for media rights and freedom of expression. He represented the old school but he never stopped at learning and adopting new ideas.