Writers, intellectuals and journalists on Thursday condemned the act of terrorism on the grave of progressive politician, intellectual and poet Ajmal Khattak.
Noted poet Iftikhar Arif said that the attack on mausoleums is a barbaric act and no sane human being can think of it. “Ajmal Khattak was a respectable person and writer who struggled throughout his life for the rights of the downtrodden people,” he added. “The damage to his grave has hurt the entire literary community,” he said.
He added that Khattak had great command over Persian, Urdu and Arabic and contributed a lot to literature and spread message of tolerance, peace and harmony.
Writer and journalist Rashid Khattak said that the attack is a conspiracy to destroy Pashtun identity and culture. “These are the same elements [attacked] the mausoleum of Rehman Baba in the recent past,” he said.
Intellectual and writer Ashfaq Saleem Mirza condemned the act and said Ajmal Khattak was a great poet, intellectual and politician. “The extremists misinterpret religion and want to dictate their version of Islam to our society,” he added.
“The matter is not that it was the mausoleum of Ajmal Khattak, the matter is as to why people are taking such extreme steps,” he said.
There are people who think that praying at shrines and mausoleums is against Islam that’s why such incidents had been happening for the last many years in different parts of the country. “As a thinker, I also don’t think that there is any need of building such huge mausoleums, but they don’t need to be blown up if [they go against someone’s beliefs],” he said.
Pakistan Academy of Letters’ Chairperson Abdul Hameed said that our poets and writers spread the teachings of peace, tolerance and unity. “We should act upon the teachings of our poets and should promote the culture of peace and tolerance,” he said.
Ajmal Khattak was a man of principles and has a very prominent place among the men of letters in the country, Hamid added. He said that Khattak is among the few writers who introduced new trends to Pashto literature and reshaped it according to the modern world literature.
“We should respect all late writers. They are intellectual assets of the country and a guiding light for the coming generation.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.