Lahore - Renowned fiction writer Intizar Hussain passed away yesterday. He was 92.

Intizar Hussain , widely recognised as one of the greatest Urdu writers in history, died due to a period of illness, according to his doctor.

The prolific author was known for his novels, short stories, columns and poetry and belatedly saw worldwide recognition when he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2013 and was awarded France’s “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” a year later. The deceased received many awards in Pakistan, India and the Middle East. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Lahore Literary Festival in 2012. Born on December 7, 1923 in Dibai, India, he migrated to the newly formed Pakistan in 1947 - an experience he wrote about 50 years later in “The First Morning”. The short story captured the horror and optimism that accompanied the Partition of India where an estimated 14 million people were displaced, the largest mass migration in human history. The history of Pakistan and the subcontinent was also the setting for his acclaimed novel “Basti”, published in 1979 and later translated into English.

He was also known as a voice of moderation and advocate of what he saw as the subcontinent’s ancient traditions of pluralism and tolerance. Intizar Hussain’s funeral will be held today near Fatima Trust Shadman Road at Markazi Qaumi Markaz Khwajgan after Zohr prayers.

His writings include ‘Agay Samandar hai’, ‘Hindustan Se Aakhri Khat’, ‘Shehr-e-Afsos’, ‘Jataka Tales’, ‘Janam Kahanian’ and ‘Wo Jo Kho Gaye’. Intezar He held a Master’s degree in Urdu, the language in which he penned his short stories and novels.

Naya Gar (The New House) paints a picture of Pakistan during the ten-year dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq. Agay Sumandar Hai (Beyond is the Sea) contrasts the spiralling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus, in modern Spain.

Asked once whether he preferred the short story to other forms, Hussain replied: “The tradition of the Progressives in the 1930s and 1940s made it easier to get short stories published. We could do it in literary magazines. Finding a publisher with a longer novel was usually very difficult, so while I have written many novels, the short story was the form I found very useful and turned to frequently.”

Fellow Urdu writer Munnu Bhai told AFP: “Intizar Hussain was a man of letters. His death has left a huge gap in the literary circle of the subcontinent that would be felt for centuries to come.”

Hussain’s wife, Aliya Begum, died in 2004 and the couple had no children.

President Mamnoon Hussain expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of renowned writer and intellectual Intizar Hussain .

The president said with his death, the country lost an eminent Urdu writer.

The president said that Intizar Hussain through his celebrated works promoted Urdu literature and his services in this regard would be remembered forever.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed his heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of the country’s literary figure.

He sympathised with the bereaved family and prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul with eternal peace.

Paying rich tributes to the legendary writer, the Prime Minister said that the invaluable contributions of the late writer would always be remembered.

Chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Prof Dr Muhammad Qasim Bughio also expressed grief and sorrow over the death of Intizar Hussain .

Advisor to the Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui highly praised the literary services of Intizar Hussain .