LAHORE - Amid tremendous applause from scores, wearing a black Jinnah cap, a sober yet resolute Majid Nazami appeared with a large galaxy of known personalities, students and citizens hailing from almost every walk of life.

Dozens of bouquets, books, portraits, caps, greetings messages, shields, souvenirs, and poetic pieces were presented to Majid Nizami in salutation to his journalistic calibre at this gathering organised in his honour by Majlise Karkunane Tehrike Pakistan at Alharma Hall.

The function was presided over by Col (r) Amjad Hussain while PML-Q President Ch Shujaat Hussain and PML-N Sindh President Syed Ghous Ali Shah were the chief guests who also addressed the attendants. Other speakers included renowned journalists Zahid Malik, Editor of The Nation Saleem Bokhari, Mujibur Rehman Shami, Ataur Rehman Qasmi Saeed Aasi, Bushra Rehman, Ajmal Niazi, Jamil Athar, Prof Ataur Rahman and Mian Habib; and Mowahid Hussain Syed, Majida Wyne, Mahnza Rafi, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki and Justice (r) Aftab Furrukh; labour leaders Khurhsid Ahmad and Tikkah Khan (Akhbar Farosh Union); Sahibzada Sultan Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Sarwari Qadri, Saif Yar Khan of MQM, Khalida Jamil and Shujaat Hashmi.

The speakers shed light on different aspects of Majid Nizami’s professional and public life noting that he was now considered an academy in his own person, which has not only inspired a large class of professionals but also created a media empire based solely in journalistic enterprise, with no factories or industries to otherwise support it. A truly patriotic and true Pakistani, they congratulated him for a lifetime of hardwork and for tutoring his daughter, Ms Rameeza Nizami, considered a continuation of him at the Nawa-i-Waqt Group.

The speakers noted that Nizami was unstinting in appreciating the friendship of those who love Pakistan and are faithful to its founding ideology, which includes a wariness of India for its agression and excesses. Nizami mission for Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan was widely applauded and leadership prayed for, which would see this dream become reality. Speakers disapproved of Pakistan’s leaning towards India under the garb of Most Favoured Nation, and demanded the immediate construction of Kalabagh Dam and an end to foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the state.

“Majid Nizami is jealously guarding the ideology of Pakistan and has been the most tormenting factor for enemies of Pakistan, a fact we are proud of him for,” observed one speaker. 

They said it was unprecedented in the country’s history that a person has fought against despots and dictatorial rulers for such a long period of time with amazing consistency, diligence, honesty, boldness and courage. They said the composed Nizami was a man of few, but effective words and a careful listener. His nature never let him bow to the will of dictators, no matter what the cost to him or his newspapers.

They said wherever Urdu is read and understood in the world, the name of Majid Nizami echoes like a household word. Had the policies of Nawa-i-Waqt, under the editorship of Majid Nizami, been followed in the past, Pakistan would not have been dismembered and the nation would not have come to face the present pressing times, speakers expressed.

Speaking as chief guest at the ceremony, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain congratulated Majid Nizami on his achievements and paid rich tribute to him saying the veteran journalist completed 50 years of editorship with courage and bravery, upholding true values of journalism.

To a question raised by veteran journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami regarding unification of Muslim Leagues, Shujaat said the PML-Q had never been a hurdle in the unification. He said Majid Nizami made several efforts to unify the Leagues and PML-Q backed him, and at one stage he proposed “Neither I nor Nawaz Sharif should be made president of the unified Muslim League but Majid Nizami should head the united League, as he is the most competent and suitable person to hold this office”.

PML-Q chief claimed that energy crisis could only be controlled by implementation of his formula as he regretted that his suggestion was not entertained in the recently held energy conference. He said he had no objection if someone desired to remove his name from the formula but it should be implemented for the greater good of the country.

Shujaat claimed that the Punjab government wanted to evade the local bodies’ polls, as they knew that popularity claims of the PML-N would be exposed if the elections were hled. He said that people who blamed the Chaudhry Family for practicing politics with the help of military establishment should not forget the fact that Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi was kept in jail during the General Ayub Khan’s martial law.

The co-chief guest, Ghous Ali Shah said Majid Nizami is member of the caravan that created Pakistan and now he is defending the country’s ideology. “It is true when ideology weakened, the country suffered and the 71 Dhaka debacle vouchsafes this fact.” He said forgetting the two-nation theory meant forgetting our identity. Remembering that East Pakistan was manipulated by appointing teachers who washed away the memory of the Two-Nation Theory and easily used the students as cannon fodder for cutting away East Pakistan. He said Muslims by all manners hold a separate identity from the Hindus and blend of the two to make them one will never be possible. “As such, we can prosper and move ahead only with the identity of Pakistanis.”

Speaking in context of Ch Shujaat’s energy formula, Daily Pakistan Editor-in-Chief Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami said that Shujaat’s formula was good but it presented only a short-term solution to the energy crisis. There is another long-term energy formula in which Majid Nizami had emphasised on the construction of Kalabagh Dam, he added.

He said Majid Nizami also presented the formula for the solution of all the problems of the country by asking Pakistan Army not to interfere in political matters. And similarly, Shami added, if political leadership followed this simple formula, the country would have remained united. Shami said that he had never seen a man of determination and commitment like Majid Nizami and indeed he was the greatest editor of his time.

Editor The Nation Salim Bokhari said that he found Majid Nizami very straightforward and a principled person. “On the very first day of my joining The Nation, Majid Nizami told me that one thing I must keep in mind that he (Nizami) was not in favour of India, until the Kashmir issue was addressed according to UN resolutions. I replied ‘how could any one be a good a Pakistani if one did not consider that?’” Mr Bokhari said he feels he has earned more respect in society after joining Nizami’s newspaper.

Renowned intellectual Mowahid Hussain Syed said that Majid Nizami throughout maintained one character which he never changed, even after winning fame in the field of journalism. He said he was witness to the fact that Nizami led a simple life and is living in the same house and room where he was in the beginning of his career. Though he has gone through open heart surgery three times yet his heart was still young, he added. Majid Nizami became editor 50 years ago when there was no computer, mobile, or the internet, and built his empire from the ground, earning remarkable respect on the basis of his wisdom and hardwork.

Nizami presented a formula for the progress of country and asked politicians and other influential people to safeguard and take care of the country as they do for their ‘looted money’, he added.

Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, central leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, congratulated Majid Nizami on completing 50 years of editorship on behalf of Dawa chief Prof Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and the entire Jamaat. Expressing displeasure over opening of Gate No-2 at Wahga Border for trade with India, he said that he agreed that India was Pakistan’s arch rival and no trade should be carried out with it, until the bloodshed in Indian Occupied Kashmir continued unabated.

Dawa leader quoted Majid Nizami as saying that Pakistanis could live their life by depending on lamps but they would not be beholden to electricity from India. He remembered that Nizami always stood up to the dictators and that he once said to General Ziaul Haq that he (Nizami) could visit India only on the condition if the tour was made on a tank.

Renowned columnist Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi said he had worked for 35 years with Majid Nizami and found him a witty person despite his serious posture in public. As far as the matter of his editorship is concerned, he added, Nizami is an undisputed great editor of the country. Nawa-e-Waqt Deputy Editor Saeed Aasi said that the presence of the people from every walk of life at today’s function was the proof that Majid Nizami was a man of great qualities.

PML-N leader and NPT Vice-chairperson Majida Wyne said Majid Nizami had participated in Pakistan Movement and faced every dictator with courage. She said Nizami and late Ghulam Haider Wyne never compromised on principles. Pakistan Observer Chief Editor Zahid Malk said that no one could doubt the commitment of Majid Nizami with democracy. The great editor, he said, never compromised on principles. He said Pakistan was blessed from Madina and there was no need to be disappointed about the future of the country. Mehnaz Rafi said that Majid Nizami was a brave and true person. She said that he always uttered truth before dictators.

Editor-in-chief of daily Jurrat and Tijarat, Jamil Athar said that he was proud of himself for working under supervision of Majid Nizami. He said that Majid is a pride of the country; his friendship means friendship with Pakistan and resolute firmness with India. Mr Jamil said that Nizami was true successor of his brother Hameed Nizami. He said that the said ceremony was to be organised by Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) but unfortunately it could not due to some division in the body, which now by the grace of God has been unified again.

Senior journalist Atta-ur-Rehman in his speech said that Majid Nizami not only confronted the dictators but also the civilian dictators who violated the constitution. He said, “When I visited India I witnessed that Nizami is the most popular journalist among Indian Muslims also”. He said that Indian rulers read Nawa-i-Waqt editorials religiously, after translating them into Hindi language, to gauge Pakistani sentiments.

Chief Editor of Balochistan Times and Majid Nizami’s fast friend, Fasih Iqbal said that Nizami never adopted journalism as business but took it as mission always. His commitment with Islam was above suspicion and his stature was higher than that of a President of Pakistan. He said that Majid Nizami through his pen has kept the Kashmir issue part of the foreign policy of Pakistan. He said that Nawa-i-Waqt was the only newspaper which has taken freedom of the press as a mission.

Addressing the ceremony Begum Bushra Rehman said that Nizami was the custodian of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s philosophy. She said that he was still young even after 70 years of professional services.

Khursheed Ahmad in his address said that he felt lucky to pay tribute to his hero. He was of the view that Nizami was the only journalist who promoting the thought of Quaid and Iqbal.

Justice (r) Aftab Farukh said that Majid Nizami was a true follower of Iqbal and Iqbal was follower of Moulana Room. Now Majid Nizami has entrusted his mission to his daughter Rameeza Nizami, whom Mr Farrukh said he has known since childhood and admired her as an intelligent and talented girl who held every merit to fulfil the mission and duties facing her.

Artist Shujaat Hashmi said that there was a dire need to follow in the footsteps of Majid Nizami for the national progress.

Sahibzada Sultan Fayyaz-ul-Hassan, central president of Pakistan Muslim League (Ulema Mashaikh Wing), congratulating Mjaid Nizami on completion of 50 years of editorship said, “We should become the strength of Majid Nizami, who is a real defender of the ideology of Pakistan”.

Sahibzada Sultan said that the current leadership has failed the country and there was a dire need of a new political leadership.

Saif Yar Khan, member MQM coordination committee congratulated Majid Nizami on completion of 50 years of editorship on behalf of party chief Altaf Hussain. He read Altaf Hussain’s message in recognition of the valuable services of Majid Nizami for journalism, wherein Altaf said that Majid Nizami always played a vital role for the freedom of press. He said that Nizami has rendered numerous services for defending the ideology of Pakistan since its inception and continuing his mission with zeal till this day. Altaf said that it should be ascertained whether the country was heading forward following the ideology of Pakistan or not, questioning “Have we all been able to become Pakistanis in the last 63 years?” MQM chief asked the masses to follow Nizami’s ideology to put the country on the road to progress.

Daily Din Editor Mian Habib Ullah, Khalida Jamil, Akhbar Farosh Union President Tika Khan also spoke on the occasion and lauded the services of Majid Nizami for the freedom of press.

NPT Vice-chairman Professor Dr Rafique Ahmed, Pakistan Movement Workers’ Trust Chairman Colonel (r) Jamshed Ahmed Tareen, NPT Secretary Shahid Rasheed, Pakistan Movement workers thanked the speakers and participants. They paid glowing tribute to Majid Nizami for his services in securing the ideological boundaries of the country.