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Published Date: Jun 24, 2011


Speakers on Thursday paid tributes to researcher and writer Ahmad Salim for his political struggle for equal rights and a lifetime given to collecting rare books, terming his archives a national treasure.

“He has paid price for his rebellious work in the form of imprisonment and hardships but he has led a life full of courage and dignity. We are proud to be his colleagues and friends,” Shafqat Kakakhel, a former ambassador, told a book launch, “A tribute to Ahmad Salim: celebration of fifty years of writing”, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Kakakhel, who is also an adviser at SDPI, said he had witnessed Salim`s progress from school days as he used to write for literary magazines and newspapers.

“He is not an individual but an institution. He has produced over 200 books.” He said Salim`s work is historic and literary but full of courage and bravery.

Talking about his archival contributions, Dr Tariq Rahman of Quaid-i-Azam University, described him as a person dedicated to research and publications. Terming him as “liberal humanist”, he said Salim worked not only with passion and dedication but also with physical and moral courage and opposed military operations in East Pakistan and Balochistan.

He felicitated Salim, a recipient of Presidential Pride of Performance Award, for his extensive and one of the largest archives in Pakistan, built over a period of 50 years with a collection of rare books from around the world. “Building and maintaining archive is a very difficult task. It requires skill, time, resources, and passion for books. It is a national treasure that needs to be preserved for the benefit of coming generations.”

Other speakers, including Zafrullah Khan of Centre for Civic Education, Humaira Ishfaq of International Islamic University Islamabad, Dr Saba Gul Khattak, member Planning Commission of Pakistan, said Salim worked in almost all languages of Pakistan, adding that he considered regional languages as national languages.

Mahfuzur Rahman, deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh in Pakistan, said Salim`s writings highlighted the plight of Bengali people in 1971. He added that recognising his work, Bangladesh government conferred upon him the highest civil award this year.