ISLAMABAD – A memorial reference was held in honour of D Shah Khan, the late veteran scholar and journalist, at the Institute of Regional Studies Islamabad (IRS) on Friday.
D Shah Khan, who also served as the editor and Senior Research Analyst at IRS in the period between 1982 and 1989, passed away on April 30, 2012. Ashraf Azim, President of IRS, appreciated D Shah Khan’s services as a principled journalist, who worked untiringly for the freedom of press. Bashir Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow said on the occasion that D Shah Khan was an inspirational figure for the youngsters working with him, calling him an institution in himself. He added that D Shah Khan was the person behind the creation of IRS’s internationally circulated major publications such as the Regional Studies Quarterly.
Brig. Bashir Ahmed shared that at times D Shah Khan could go to the extent of accepting personal isolation for upholding his journalistic and scholarly independence. “It is said that no man is an island, but he indeed was,” said Brig Bashir Ahmed.
Nasir Zaidi, senior journalist, recalled his services as a scholar and editor at IRS and a journalist and editor working for various important national dailies. He stated that D Shah Khan never accepted any favours from the government for the sake of maintaining his freedom as a journalist. He shared when patches of land were once given to the entire senior journalist during Benzir Bhutto second government, D Shah Khan refused to accept any plot and maintained that accepting such a favour from the government could compromise his freedom as a journalist. Zaidi marvelled at D Shah Khan’s unflinching dedication to his profession and his great personal efforts to uphold freedom of press in Pakistan. Narrating several of his real-life stories, Zaidi shared that D Shah Khan would go to any extent to preserve his journalistic and scholarly independence and would dare publish articles and editorials that no other editor could.
Khalid Malik, another senior researcher at IRS who had worked with D Shah Khan, shared that he believed in training the young colleagues and was an encouraging and inspiring figure to work with. He added that all the youngsters who had worked with him learned from him. Dr Shaheen Akhtar, Senior Research Analyst at IRS, shared that she worked with D Shah Khan when she joined IRS as a young researcher and that she learned a lot from him. She added that besides having an encyclopaedic knowledge about Pakistan’s politics and global relations, D. Shah Khan was also a very kind and considerate person, and that he was always very helpful to the younger staff members.
Nasreen Naqvi, librarian at IRS, shared that D Shah Khan would go out of the way to help fellow colleagues and would even make and serve tea to his colleagues as a gesture of kindness despite all the workload that he would have to cope with on daily basis. She added that D. Shah Khan would mostly be found sitting late in the office working. She also shared that besides his immense general knowledge, he was a good palmist as well.
Summing up his appreciation for the man and recalling his fond memories, one of his former colleagues said in Urdu, “Haq maghfirat kare, ajab azad mard tha” (May God Bless him, an extraordinarily independent man he was). Hameed Jehlmi, a prominent journalist who passed away recently, was also remembered on the occasion.