Literary icon Ashfaq Ahmed laid to rest
* President and prime minister pay tribute to Ashfaq Ahmed
* Writers, alma mater condole intellectual’s passing
LAHORE: Writer, intellectual and broadcaster Ashfaq Ahmed, 79, died of pancreatic cancer on Monday. He was laid to rest in a Model Town graveyard amidst moving scenes. Hundreds of people attended his funeral.
Mr Ahmed’s nephew, Javed Tariq Khan, told Daily Times that his maternal uncle had been seriously ill since last February. He had undergone an operation in March and had lost much weight because of his condition.
Mr Tariq said his uncle’s condition began to deteriorate on Monday. He was given treatment, but could not survive. Mr Tariq said doctors had predicted in February that Mr Ahmed would not be able to survive more than six months. He said his uncle had known he was going to die, but he was very brave about it.
The deceased left behind sons Aneeq Ahmed Khan, Anees Ahmed Khan and Aseer Ahmed Khan. The eldest son, Aneeq, was visiting Lahore from the US and returned there after attending the funeral. Ashfaq Ahmed’s wife, Bano Qudsia, is also a prominent Urdu novelist
Ashfaq Ahmed authored more than 20 books in Urdu. His works included novels, short stories and plays for television and radio. The government awarded Ahmed the Sitara-e-Imtiaz - its highest civilian award - in recognition of his contribution to Urdu literature.
President, PM, prominent figures condole Ashfaq Ahmed’s death: President Pervez Musharraf expressed sorrow over the demise of renowned scholar and author Ashfaq Ahmad in Lahore on Tuesday. In a condolence message to Mr Ahmed’s family, the president recounted the services rendered by the late writer and intellectual to Pakistan and to literature.
Musharraf said such people are national assets and everyone benefited from their writings and experiences. He said the literary world had lost one of its distinguished personalities.
He prayed that the departed soul rest in eternal peace and the bereaved family bear the loss with courage.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, in his condolence message, also expressed sorrow overMr Ahmed’s death. The prime minister also paid tribute to the writer and dramatist for his services to art and literature.
He said Mr Ahmed wrote thought-provoking plays on social issues and was a great social reformer who highlighted social issues in his plays.
Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi in a statement expressed his sorrow over the death of Mr Ahmed and termed his death a national loss. He said, “I was inspired by his writings, and have found guidance from his various plays, books and literary works.”
National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain, Pakistan Muslim League President Chaudhry Shujaat and Lahore Nazim Mian Amer Mehmood also condoled Mr Ahmed’s death in separate messages.
Writers mourn Ashfaq Ahmed’s departure: Moving scenes were witnessed at the funeral of literary icon Ashfaq Ahmed on Monday evening. Many prominent people from television, radio and literary circles were present.
Talking to Daily Times, Amjad Islam Amjad said Mr Ahmed had created history in Urdu literature. He said he had learnt drama writing from Mr Ahmed, who was a “sun” among literary stars.
Asghar Nadeem Syed said Mr Ahmed knew a lot about science, spiritualism and other religions. He was an unmatched short story writer and playwright, Mr Syed said. Munoo Bhaie said Mr Ahmed was a humble and pragmatic man.
Intazar Hussian said Mr Ahmed had been immortalised in the history of Urdu short story writing after he wrote ‘Gadarya’. He said Gadarya was as important to short story writing as Prem Chand’s Kafan.
Mustansar Hussain Tarar said Mr Ahmed was the greatest contemporary storyteller. He said Mr Ahmed was still alive through his writings. Actor Firdous Jamal repeated these sentiments saying Mr Ahmed’s name would live for ages to come.
Other prominent personalities included Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool, actors Jamil Malik, Samina Ahmed and Irfan Khusat, singer Shaukat Ali, compere and politician Tariq Aziz, Naib Nazim Farooq Amjad Mir, Shoaib Bin Aziz, Lahore PTV General Manager Ashraf Azeem and songwriter Riaz-ur-Rehman Sagar.
GCU condoles Ashfaq Ahmed’s death: Teaching and non-teaching staff of Government College University (GCU) have expressed grief over the sudden demise of Prof Ashfaq Ahmed, a distinguished Old Ravian, writer and intellectual. Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association President in GCU Prof Haji Muhammad Sharif and other officials have also expressed grief over the loss. Prof Sharif said Mr Ahmed was a national asset.
The president of the Old Ravians Union and inspector general of Punjab Police, Saadat Ullah Khan, and other union members also condoled Mr Ahmed’s death.