Remembering The Eminent Majid Nizami

Qasim Khan Lahore

Ahmad Sirhindi is most popularly known as ‘Mujaddid Alf Thani’, the title which accredits him of being the ‘reviver of the second millennium’ as he rejuvenated Islam and showed opposition against the heresies introduced by Jalal-ud-din Akbar. Forsooth, Majid Nizami can aptly be remembered as ‘Journalism’s Mujaddid Alf Thani’ as he contributed more than his share in evolving and shaping news media in its true meanings. His unforgettable contributions in the Pakistan Movement together with his pioneering work in the fields of journalism and international affairs make him the beau ideal for the generations to come.

On his birth on April 3, 1928, his modest parents, living in a small house in Sangla Hill, Punjab (British India), must have been enthralled to see the future breadwinner of their household. Little did his parents know about his unique contributions to be made in the Pakistan Movement and print media along with his elder brother, Hameed Nizami. Due to financial constraints of the family, he attended Government High School, Sangla Hill for elementary education. His childhood and educational life is not to be erroneously compared or equated with that of a normal child. He had inherent leadership qualities, which he occasionally evinced during his formative years.

He moved to Lahore just before the advent of Pakistan, passed his matriculation examination, and finally gained intermediate certificate with the Faculty of Arts from Islamia College, Railway Road. During these years, he joined Muslim Students’ Federation and actively participated in the Pakistan Movement. These shares were recognized later when the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawabzadah Liaquat Ali Khan honoured him by awarding the title of ‘Mujahid-e-Tehrik-e-Pakistan’ along with an emblematic sword. Majid graduated from Government College Lahore in 1952 followed by him completing the M.A. degree in Political Science from the University of the Punjab in 1954.

By that time, Hameed Nizami had established the Nawa-i-Waqt and raised its status from being a monthly to a daily newspaper. Majid wanted to assist his brother in every aspect of running the business, ergo he wrote the celebrated editorial column ‘Sare Rahe’ for two years. He left for England to become the student of International Affairs at the University of London and also attended Grey’s Inn for Bar. While in London, he consistently penned for the Nawa-i-Waqt and also worked as a political reporter during the course of which he got to meet many eminent world leaders including several heads of states.

Nawa-i-Waqt was in point of fact considered to be the only unfeigned voice against martial law, first imposed by President Iskander Mirza. In many of his articles, Hameed Nizami referred to martial law as “the dark night”. But the coercion on him during the reign of Ayub Khan increased to such an extent that it gave him a heart ailment, resulting in his sudden doleful demise. Though Majid had launched his own newspaper by the name of Nida-e-Millat, he tout de suite returned to Pakistan and since then devoted himself in serving the cause of his late brother. 

Nawa-i-Waqt, under the stewardship of Majid Nizami, came forth to represent the fundamental ideology of Pakistan. The credits doubtlessly go to Majid and his team who brooked a lot of unprofessional pressures, coercions, threats, remarks and mulcts during both monocratic and democratic rules. He took over the administration of this newspaper when Ayub Khan was contesting the presidential elections against Fatima Jinnah. Majid valiantly backed the Madr-e-Millat despite flagrant opposition. He strived hard to resist these hardships solely on the basis of his fundamental belief based on the sayin of Prophet pbuhaccording to which the best form of Jihad is to voice the unflinching truth against the corrupt ruler. It can be ably said that Majid Nizami practiced these words his entire life.

Nawa-i-Waqt earned its prestige and repute through the process of controlled evolution – by retaining the values of our society along with the called for adaptations in order to step forward. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s recouping of newsprint’s allotment was no different from the sanctions imposed during General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule. Without any interruption, Majid voiced his opinions and stance in his editorials and in person on different fora, which led him to chair Nazaria-e-Pakistan Trust.

Majid Nizami staunchly supported the idea given by Quaid in his saying: “Kashmir is indeed the jugular vein of Pakistan.” He travelled around the globe but always refused to tour India despite receiving several invitations from the visiting delegations. He incessantly opposed the idea of good terms between the two countries till the resolution of Kashmir’s issue. He also bluntly declared Bangladesh as the creation of India and an attempt to undo Paksitan. Likewise, Majid has unblinkingly promoted Sino-Pak friendship by himself visiting the People’s Republic of China on several occasions and meeting Mao-Tse Tung, the founder of the country, along with other notable panjandrums. 

Nizami’s commendable contributions have been recognized on various powwows. He was honoured with the Human Rights Award. In recognition of his services in Kashmir and his endeavor to look for a democratic solution to Kashmir’s issue, he is frequently remembered as ‘Mujahid-e-Kashmir’. He also served as the president of All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and All Pakistan Newspapers’ Editors (APNE) several times. Furthermore, he was awarded with Sitara-i-Imitiaz, Sitara-i-Pakistan and Nishan-i-Imtiaz. Nizami courteously declined Zia, Junejo and Nawaz Sharif’s proffers of making him a nominee to the Majlis-e-Shura (the Parliament), the Governor of the Punjab and the President of Pakistan, respectively, by enouncing his relief at being the editor of the Nawa-i-Waqt as it conceded him a peachier opportunity for serving Pakistan. 

Nawa-i-Waqt reached the zenith of success and fame primarily owing to the vision, determination, commitment and diligence of Majid Nizami. The Nawa-i-Waqt Group began to publish the English daily ‘The Nation’, the weekly magazines ‘Nida-e-Millat’ and ‘Family’ and a mag for children by the name of ‘Phool’. Along with these, this print media house launched a successful television news channel ‘Waqt News’. His literary contributions include his books, namely ‘Raudad-e-Junoon’, ‘Majid Nizami Eitraf-i-Khidmat’ and ‘Jab Tak Main Zinda Hoon’. 

Nizami continued to work tirelessly to awaken and bring political awareness in the people of his country. His ceaseless work gave him cardiac ailment for which he was treated at a private hospital in Lahore for three weeks. Alas, after living piously for more than eight decades he passed away in the early hours of July 26, 2014. Many big-named politicians attended his funeral prayers held at Dar-ul-Islam mosque, Bagh-i-Jinnah. He now rests at the Miani Sahib graveyard. Those who have even been in his acquaintanceship are well aware of his cerebrations and views about establishing Pakistan as a symbol of preeminence and supremacy. Nothing could be more done than to follow his footsteps and build a nation he had always dreamt of.

- Article by Aminah Suhail Qureshi