PUCL Bulletin, Nov., 2000

HRCP Editor and Joint Director Passes Away

The saddest news in recent months has been the sudden death of unusual human rights intellectual - activist, rare in our present day world-forthright, fearless, cosmopolitan. Aziz Siddiqui, Editor and Joint Director of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) died in Lahore on 7, June 2000 of a massive heart attack. We came to know of the tragedy very late. (There have been a number of visitors in Delhi from the HRCP in recent months-none gave us the news. It is possible they all thought that we had known).

The PUCL Bulletin has published review articles on HRCP annual reports. We invariably quoted from Siddiqui Sahib's editorials, which summarized the State of Human Rights in Pakistan succinctly. We reproduced his editorial from the HRCP Quarterly Newsletter on Kargil in a PUCL Bulletin editorial on Kargil under the title, "War Must never be Glorified". His editorial was read out before a distinguished gathering at Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi on 14-15 August 1999 midnight, where former president of PUCL Rajindar Sachar, among others, was present.

Siddiqui Sahib was afraid neither of the military dictators nor the intolerant mullahs in Pakistan. All his writings, in the annual reports and the HRCP Quarterly bear the stamp of a valiant and uncompromising fighter for freedom. He came down heavily on chauvinism, nationalism, and religious intolerance. He was never apologetic while exposing Human Rights violations in Pakistan - State violation or societal. It is said nobody is indispensable; but not so Siddiqui Sahib - the loss is irreparable. If there were many more people like him in Pakistan and India, things would have different - for the better.

The PUCL Bulletin expresses its condolences to his family and to HRCP.
-Chief Editor

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