A unique and outstanding intellectual of his time, Prof Dr Zawwar Hussain Zaidi will be remembered on his 7th death anniversary tomorrow, March 31, in the circle of academicians residing in Lahore, Islamabad and London, and also by those team workers who had remained associated with him while he was actively working on Jinnah Papers collection.

Prof Zaidi had a special commitment with the work he was doing to revive the memories of the founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah in many aspects, which a common citizen of Pakistan was unaware of unless Zaidi took the pain to reproduce the letters and correspondence of the great Quaid with the then high ups, governor generals and all the rulers of princely states.

His work on “Jinnah Papers” was greatly acknowledged by MA Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, who lives in America in these words to Zaidi: “Thank you for keeping my father’s memory alive”.

The gigantic and voluminous collection of Jinnah Papers has now been preserved in the National Archives of Pakistan (NAP), Ministry of Culture, as a ready material for the historians and researchers. It may be mentioned that the Quaid-e-Azam Papers Wing has been merged into the NAP due to the absence of a dedicated and noble person like Dr Zawwar Zaidi.

Here it may also be right to mention that the work on Quaid’s life and achievement needed full time attention and dedication which could be spared by none else but the man like Dr Zaidi who had left England to work on this project, and he had collected all relevant material from different sources such as Bhutto Papers, Shams ul Hassan collection, Transfer of Power volumes, Ayub Khan’s Papers and Liaquat Ali Khan’s Papers and arranged to place them in the QAPP wing in the National Archive of Pakistan.

Initially he had to work on this big national project under very challenging and difficult circumstances and with meager financial resources and lack of proper staff. But later on with the blessing of Almighty Allah and Zaidi’s strong will and courage, he had developed the work on smooth footing. He had appointed a dedicated team of workers which comprised of retired government officials having huge experience and four fresh graduates from universities to help him reproducing the series of Pakistan movement struggle and the personal and public life of the founding father.

The year 1992 ultimately compelled him to start work practically on Jinnah Papers which continued till 2009, during which a series of 17 volumes were published reflecting the great struggle of Pakistan Movement and its founding father’s life and achievement single handedly as it had been endorsed by Dr Ayshah Jalal in her book titled - “Jinnah was the sole spokesmen” - for achieving a separate homeland for the 100 million Muslims of the subcontinent. He also had the occasion to present the first copy of Jinnah Papers to Dina Wadia who visited Pakistan in 2005.

I had the honour to meet Mrs Zawwar Zaidi namely Mrs Parveen Zaidi, some days ago, in Islamabad at her residence where she also revealed some facts about Dr Zaidi ‘s committed work on Quaid. She said that Dr Zaidi had emulated the great Quaid’s style of approach towards work and adopted many traits of his personality such as punctuality, hard work and commitment towards work which also became part of his life, and ultimately he became a successful man to make Jinnah’s dream come true and revived the lost spirit of patriotism amongst the youths by virtue of his compilation.

She became gloomy while talking about her husband’s long struggle for Quaid’s mission as he had developed great passion for him during the time of his student life. She said he was in fact living life in his own style and kept thinking all the time to do something extraordinary for the great personality of Quaid.

She told me that Dr Zaidi was a very kind hearted man and was always willing to support his staff and youth. It was the reason that he was being remembered by all of them who were associated with him in any capacity.

Mrs Zaidi also said that it was her husband’s great wish to see the work on Jinnah’s life gets continuity.

The writer is a former member of QAPP staff.