It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of long-time comrade and human rights activist I.A. Rehman in Lahore on April 12, 2021.
Mr. Rehman, a veteran communist, was a co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) where he served as Director and Secretary General until December 2016. In 1993, he also helped found the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) to support citizen-led peace efforts in India and Pakistan and promote a more sustainable vision for relations between the two countries.
A veteran journalist for 65 years, Mr. Rehman served as editor of the Pakistan Times, Urdu Daily Azad, and Viewpoint, and as a regular columnist for the daily newspaper Dawn, exposing human rights abuses in Pakistan.
Highly respected by South Asian civil society and the international human rights community, I.A. Rehman has won numerous awards and honors, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2004) and the Nuremberg International Human Rights Award (2003).
He will be remembered for his passionate thirst for social justice, his dignity, his courageous writing and his integrity. Throughout his life, I.A. Rehman walked the talk to safeguard human rights, peace and democratic values in his country and the region. As the great rights activist Salima Hashimi said at the announcement of his death, "Today, it is not a man, but a movement and an entire era that is passing away”.
The Alternatives team had the great honor to work with PIPFPD and HRCP and meet Mr. Rehman on several occasions in Montreal and Lahore. Our sincere condolences to his family, loved ones, partners and colleagues.
Catherine Pappas is the Interim Director General of Alternatives