Rehmat Shah Afridi- an iconic personality lived for independent journalism, democracy remembered | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Rehmat Shah Afridi- an iconic personality lived for independent journalism, democracy remembered

Pakistan Press Foundation

PESHAWAR, Dec 11 (APP): Every year, thousands of people leave for eternal abode after spending an aimless life but very few live for a noble-cause by guiding their countrymen in the right direction to achieve their set goals and immortalized forever. Rehmat Shah Afridi, who was an iconic figure in the media industry of Pakistan, has devoted his entire life for a well informed and knowledgeable based society besides highlighting the country and public issues through credible journalism in addition to infotainment and education services to people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa based on unbiased and free editorial policy of the Frontier Post Peshawar.

“Rehmat Shah Afridi had lived a purposeful life and his contribution for promotion of quality journalism was immense in KP,” said Pir Habibullah Zakori, former Director General, Press Information Department, while talking to APP. Rehmat Shah Afridi brought out the Frontier Post from Peshawar when Muhammad Khan Junego government eased curbs on press in the dictatorial regime and run the newspaper with full editorial independence. After launching Frontier Post Peshawar in 1985, he said Rehmat Shah Afridi was a highly visionary leader as evidenced by his appointment of prominent journalist Aziz Saddiqui as its Editor and soon the newspaper had made its mark in the print media circle of Pakistan. Aziz Siddiqui had shaped the publication as one of the most progressive voices of the country that remained in the forefront of the struggle for safeguarding the rights of underprivileged and vulnerable groups in the society besides restoration of democracy in Pakistan . Rehmat Shah Afridi was pro-workers and was often seen taking lunch and dinner in the newsroom or reporting room with his colleagues, Syed Bukhar Shah, former President, Peshawar Press Club told APP. “Following the closure of Khyber Mail, Frontier Post Peshawar had provided an excellent opportunity to people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa to get accurate information, update themselves from the country’s issues, geopolitical environment of the region, sports, Afghans conflict and economic challenges,” he said. “The readership of Frontier Post was enormous due to its bold stance on regional and international issues and credible content on social, economic, environmental and politics besides a separate page on Afghanistan,” he said. Serving like an academy for young journalists, he said Frontier Post’s platform was always open for graduate and post graduate students who get internship and training in its competitive soothing environment. Salim Shah Hoti, a journalist turned lawyer said that he had found Rehmat Shah Afridi was highly humble and a journalist friendly personality. “When I joined Frontier Post Peshawar as staff reporter in 1993, I met with Rehmat Shah Sahib whose journalistic vision had impressed me a lot,” he said. He said Frontier Post grows with each passing day and it was also published from Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta. After positive response from people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and other provinces, the management of Frontier Post also launched Pashto daily Hewad and Urdu Daily Maidan where a large number of journalists were trained professionally that served within and outside of the country. Salim Shah Hoti said despite all odds and pressure, Rehmat Shah Afridi had never compromised on principles and ran an independent foreign policy. He said Rehmat Shah Afridi had faced jail with bravery and steadfastness after he was arrested in a narcotics case in 1999 and was awarded life imprisonment. However, the apex court later acquitted him. He said Rehmat Shah Afridi was declared ‘prisoner of conscious’ by Amnesty International due to his longstanding struggle for media freedom and democracy in the country. Rehmat Shah Afridi was in jail when Frontier Post Office was set ablaze in Peshawar, he said. However, the publication of the national daily was soon resumed and continued today. “Rehamt Shah Afridi was like an institution and was a friend of journalists. His death saddened the entire journalist community of Pakistan,” said M Riaz, former President, Peshawar Press Club while talking to APP. “Whenever I met him, there was a smile on his face. I found him a thorough gentleman and balanced personality and his contribution for promotion of journalism in the country especially in KP would always be remembered in golden words,” he said. Barrister Feroz Jamal Shah Kakakhel, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Minister for Information and Public Relations has expressed profound sorrow and heartfelt condolences on the passing of the esteemed Rehmat Shah Afridi. A trailblazer in English journalism within the frontier region of Pakistan, Afridi’s departure has created an irreplaceable void in the media landscape. As the founder Editor-in-Chief of The Frontier Post, his enduring legacy and significant contributions to media in the region will be remembered with deep respect. Barrister Feroze Jamal Shah Kakkhel said, “Rehmat Shah Afridi’s impact on English journalism in the frontier region has been monumental. His vision and dedication as the founder Editor-in-Chief of The Frontier Post have left an indelible mark on the industry.” The people of all walks of life are coming to the residence of the late Afridi and were offering fateha after he passed away of a protected illness.

Source: APP

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