Portrait of an icon: Ashfaq Ahmed

Ashfaq Ahmed


Aleena Naqvi
3 minutes read

Ashfaq Ahmed was an intellectual, writer, and a spiritual genius who has left his mark on the pages of history. His work continues to inspire even after his death. His work and personality are revered by millions in the world. He had spread his love, spirituality, and knowledge among the masses through his writings, radio, and television shows. He was a star that burned brightly and enlightened the people’s hearts and souls through its unwavering and everlasting light of wisdom. Even though he has left this material world, his flame continues to burn through the unforgettable work that he has left behind.

Life and Carrier of Ashfaq Ahmed

Ashfaq Ahmed was born on 22 August 1925 in India. He was 22 years of age during the independence of Pakistan. He migrated to Pakistan and started a life here as a clerk. His basic education was obtained from his native district called Muktsar. After migration, he settled in Lahore and completed his Masters in Urdu Literature from the prestigious Government College Lahore. He married Bano Qudsia, who was his classmate in college. She was also his companion in the Urdu literary circles.

He got a job in the ‘Radio Azad Kashmir’. After that, he got lectureship at the Dayal Singh College in Lahore. He worked there for two years and then he went to Rome to join the ‘Radio Rome’. He worked there as the Urdu newscaster. He used to teach Urdu at the Rome University as well. While he was in Europe he also got diplomas in the Italian and French languages. He received a special training diploma from the New York University in radio broadcasting.

Ashfaq Ahmed started writing stories from quite a young age and his stories were published in a magazine called Phool. After he came back from Europe he also started his own literary magazine named Dastaango. He also joined Radio Pakistan as a script writer. He was also made the editor of the famous Urdu Weekly, known as Lail-o-Nahar [Day and Night]. The position was before held by Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum, a famous Sufi poet.

He gained immense popularity when he started a radio program known as Talqeen Shah [The Preacher]. He was also appointed as the director of Markazi Urdu Board which was later named as Urdu Science Board. He held this post for 29 years.

Ashfaq Ahmed served as an adviser in Education Ministry during the regime of Zia-ul-Haq. He also produced a film called “Dhoop Aur Saaei” [Shadows and Sunshine].

He had a close association with Qudrat Ullah Shahab and Mumtaz Mufti. This associated to his incline towards Islam and Sufism in the later years of his life. His television programs like the Baithak (The Guest Room) and Zaviya (The Dimension) were extremely popular among the public. In these programs, he gave swift, simple and yet satisfying responses to the questions posed by the young generation. In his answers, the influence of his religion was evident.

He died on 7 September 2004 because of pancreatic cancer and was laid to rest in the Model Town, Lahore.

Ashfaq Ahmed's Grave

He was one of the most caring and loving figures of his literary community. He may not be among the living but he left such an incredible legacy that it will live for infinite years to come.

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