The Nation ex-deputy editor Mazhar Qayyum passes away
LAHORE – Mr Mazhar Qayyum Khan, a diplomat-turned-journalist who retired as deputy editor of The Nation about three years ago, died of multiple diseases at a local hospital yesterday. He was 82.
His funeral prayer was held at Masjid Ux-i-Jameel, Samanabad, after which he was laid to eternal rest at Miani Sahib graveyard. A large number of journalists, former ambassadors and family friends were present on the occasion. Qul will be held at his residence at 3pm today.
Mazhar Qayyum Khan was a self-made person who rose to various positions through hard work. He had mastered English, French and Arabic.
Deeply religious-minded, he used to spend a good part of his salary in charity. He remained bachelor throughout his life, mainly to be able to serve his family well. He supported his sister (who died some months ago) and a niece, a special child who is now 60.
The special child – Chanda – has been lying unconscious since the death of Mr Khan and is stated to be in critical condition.
Mr Khan lost his father at the young age of three after which life became very difficult for him. He even served as a tea boy at a cloth shop to be able to earn some money to run the family and continue his education.
He joined Wapda as assistant information officer, a position which paved the way for his upward journey.
In 70s, he joined the information ministry. Because of his competence and integrity, then federal minister Maulana Kausar Niazi picked him as his special secretary, an office he held for a couple of years.
Later on, he joined the Foreign Office through the lateral entry scheme introduced by then prime minister ZA Bhutto. He was appointed as director.
Then he served as first secretary in Pakistan’s embassy in Damascus. He also remained charge d’affaires in Syria for about three years. After that he was transferred to the Foreign Office, Islamabad, where he worked at Middle East and Europe desks.
He was then posted as ambassador to Cairo, a term he fondly remembered throughout his life.
Then he served as Pakistan’s ambassador to The Maldives for more than four years. He was country’s ambassador to Portugal when he retired on attaining the age of superannuation.
A hardworking person by nature, Mr Mazhar Qayyum Khan did not sit at home. He joined the Family Planning Association of Dr Attiya Inayatullah, a job apparently not suitable for any former diplomat.
However, he worked for the FPA for a couple of years.
From there he switched to journalism and joined The Nation as assistant editor. He was designated as deputy editor in 2009, a position he held till his retirement on August 29, 2013.
Mr Khan felt upset over the international community’s indifference to the rights of the Kashmiri people. In one of his articles he wrote: “The agonising suffering of the people of Kashmir, who have, for the past 60 years, been struggling to gain freedom from India, is a sad and tragic commentary on the state of international conscience.
“The studied neglect of their plight particularly by powerful states whose clout has global reach comes into sharper focus when they talk of the sanctity of human rights and their resolve to see that the people everywhere realise their democratic aspirations, but turn a deaf ear to the distress signals that have never stopped coming from the occupied state during the past 60 years.
“India treacherously occupied a major part of the Jammu and Kashmir State in 1948 and refuses to honour its commitment made to Kashmiris as well as the world community at the United Nations.”