March 12th, 2022 

By Ahmed Saeed 


Rich tributes were paid to the distinguished teacher and intellectual Dr. Mehdi Hasan at a condolence reference held for him at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday, March 11.Human rights activists from Pakistan and India discussed various aspects of late Dr. Hasan’s life at the event.Dr. Hasan passed away on February 23, 2022, at the age of 85.PAddressing the ceremony, veteran journalist Husain Naqi said that Dr. Hasan wrote the most authentic book on Pakistan’s political history.Dr. Hasan’s former colleague at the Punjab University and friend Dr. Hamid Qazalblash recalled Dr. Mehdi’s time at the varsity and the kind of pressures he had to face.” There is not much difference between a dictator and a vice-chancellor when it comes to the Punjab University and ahead of a department acts as the VC’s deputy. Whenever Mehdi Hasan got a chance to speak at the university events, he would narrate a story, true or false, which portrayed a negative side to the VC”, he said.Mohammad Tehseen, executive director at South Asia Partnership Pakistan, remembered Dr. Hasan as a tireless rights activist who worked for the mission till his last breath.
“We should cherish the fact how he was able to bring a change in the lives of thousands of people”, Tehseen said.prominent journalists and a member of civil society Imtiaz Alam in his speech recalled his interactions with the late educationist. He said Dr. Hasan was popular among his students because he always welcomed critical questions in his class.“Every single person in Pakistan who is a rationalist, progressive, and talks about women’s rights is controversial. People like Mehdi Hasan have an irreconcilable conflict with this state. The state could not accommodate people like Mehdi Hasan”, Alam said.Syeda Hameed, a women rights activist based in India and Dr. Hasan’s cousin who joined the ceremony through a video link, said that Dr. Mehdi Hasan was a supporter of freedom of free thought and freedom of individual and he always struggled for it.“I also learned a lot about religion from Mehdi bhai. He believed that there is no compulsion in the force and I learned it practically from this family, “ Hameeda said. Tapan Kumar Bose, a human rights activist in India said that in the present times, Pakistan and India needed personalities like I A Rehman and Dr. Hasan to struggle against dictatorial-style governments.In the closing address of the ceremony, senior lawyer and the chairperson of the HRCP, Hina Jillani said that Dr. Hasan has never minced his words and he always spoke the truth without taking the political and social environment into the account.“We did our best to convince him to join HRCP and we benefitted from his knowledge for quite a long time. He has time and again cautioned us that rising extremism poses a great threat to Pakistan”, Jillani said.


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