Pakistan: Comrade Naeem Shakir – a fighter and a true socialist — no more

, by AWP

Islamabad, Oct 8: Awami Workers Party senior leader Naeem Shakir Advocate died over the weekend of cardiac arrest in the US. He was 73. He was suffering from prostate cancer and cardiac problem. He had undergone a surgery for prostate cancer last year and had to visit the US for treatment.

He leaves behind a wife, son, daughter and a large number of comrades and friends to mourn his death.

AWP leadership expressed their grief and sorrow over the demise of comrade Naeem and termed it a colossal loss to the party, the working class and the marginalized communities for whom he fought throughout his life.

In his condolence message AWP founding President Abid Hassan Minto said, Naeem was a conscious and committed progressive politician.

“Naeem withstood firm against all odds and pressures from the orthodox religious clergy and influential ruling class and struggled for the rights of the poor and marginalized people on legal and political fronts,” Minto said.

He had dedicated his life for the working class politics and contributed immensely towards the efforts in uniting the scattered Left and progressive parties since 1996. He struggled for establishing an egalitarian peaceful society, social justice and fundamental rights of all irrespective of faith, ethnicity, and culture, he said.

His commitment to the party and his ideals could be gauged from the fact that despite his illness he would remained concerned about the party rather than his health. A few days ago he called from the states and enquired about the party issues and overall political situation of the country, Minto said.

AWP President Fanoos Gujjar also termed Chaudhry Naeem’s death a great loss. In Chaudhry’s death the party has lost a great fighter and revolutionary, he said. He urged the party workers and leaders to emulate his struggle. The best way to pay him tribute would be to continue his mission and speed up the struggle against the imperialism, the establishment and ruling elite, the president said.

AWP General Secretary Akhtar Hussain said, “Chaudhry Naeem Shakir’s death has created a huge void that will be filled hardly in the times to come He was a long time political leader of the left movement who struggled for the cause of the downtrodden people of Pakistan and the entire working class as a committed Marxist from his student life consistently”.

His death is a colossal loss not only to the Party but also to the entire working class as we have lost a great fighter, an intellectual and a visionary, the general secretary said.

Despite being a member of the religious minority and oppressed community he remained committed to the cause of the downtrodden, said AWP Deputy General-Secretary Ismat Shahjehan in her condolence message.

AWP spokesperson Farooq Tariq said Choudhry Naeem has been a fierce fighter for the rights of the working class politics. As a senior advocate, he would always be available for all of us for all the time on the legal front, he said.

He provided legal aid to the religious minorities and poor people against police brutality especially in fake cases of blasphemy, AWP Kissan secretary Hassan Askari said. Consequently he would receive threats from religious extremists.

Chaudhry Naeem was founding member of the AWP and remained member of its federal committee.

He was also deputy general-secretary of the Workers Party Pakistan that was formed after the merger of Communist League, Socialist Party.

His political struggle spans over half a century. He joined the progressive politics and took part in working class movement since his student life and remained committed to the cause of working class and ideals till his last breath.

He started his political life from National Awami Party in 60s. He was the founding member of Socialist Party of Pakistan founded on 23rd March 1971 with late CR Aslam Abid Hassan Minto.

He was also associated with the Pakistan Trade Union Federation.

He was also a Supreme Court Lawyer and practiced law, particularly for the rights of minorities and workers rights. He defended the hapless members of the religious minorities in blasphemy cases such as the Aasia Bibi case.

He remained at the forefront during democratic struggles and lawyers against dictatorial regimes and unconstitutional rues. He was also the editor of the oldest socialist monthly magazine ‘Awami Jamhuriat’ a task he performed with due diligence which is being published for last 49 years.

He will be remembered for a long time to come.

Awami Workers Party

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