INDIA-BORN Pakistani human rights activist and Magsaysay award winner I A Rehman, 90, died on Monday (12), his family said.
He was a strong voice for the country’s minorities including Christians and Hindus and was an advocate of peace between India and Pakistan.
Rehman was born in 1930 in Haryana, India. He was editor for various newspapers in his journalistic career spanning more than 65 years and was a founding member of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, reports said.
According to his family, he was diabetic and suffered from high blood pressure and his condition deteriorated a couple of days ago.
“Shocked and immeasurably saddened to hear of I A Rehman’s passing from Covid. He was an icon of integrity, standing steadfast for every single fundamental right, every single democratic value in the worst of times. Pakistan will not be the same without him,” Pakistan Peoples Party’s senator and his friend Sherry Rehman said.
“He will be deeply missed. He was a rare kind of individual, not just because of his professional capabilities but as a human being.”
He worked as director of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for two decades and was also the group’s secretary-general till December 2016.
He campaigned for amendments to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Rehman became Chief Editor of the Pakistan Times newspaper in 1989.
He has numerous awards to his credit, including Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding and Nuremberg International Human Rights Award.
“Pakistan has lost a true icon today with the passing of I A Rehman. A staunch advocate and activist for Human Rights and an intellectual, I A Rehman sahib leaves behind a rich legacy that speaks of tolerance, inclusion, equality and dignity,” said Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Journalist Nasim Zehra called the activist the ‘vanguard of Pakistan’s democratic struggle’. Human rights activist Ali Dayan Hasan termed Rehman a ‘human rights warrior, and a visionary leader’.