Fatehyab Ali Khan no more. RIP comrade

Sad to hear that Fatehyab Ali Khan is no more. He suffered a massive heart attack in Karachi on Sept 23 and was rushed to hospital where doctors tried to revive him with electric shocks. He was subsequently kept on a ventilator, until doctors gave up hope last night.

He and his contemporary Mairaj Mohammad Khan were very much present at the Jan 9, 2010 event held in Karachi to commemorate the 1950s Democratic Students Federation (DSF) led student movement, during which he had been a high school student. They were happy to be there; their very presence meant a lot to everyone there. The movement inspired him and others of his generation who were inclined towards left-wing, progressive politics.

Fatehyab was the first president of Karachi University’s students union, elected in 1962 following an amendment to its constitution. Earlier, the vice president’s post was the most senior position in the union. He played a crucial role in reducing the three-year degree course to two years and was instrumental in getting college and university fees reduced.

This movement led to the government expelling 12 student leaders, including Fatehyab Ali Khan, from the city. Besides Mairaj Mohammad Khan, his contemporaries included Husain Naqi, Jauhar Husain and Agha Jaffar. Like many other progressives, he supported Fatima Jinnah against Gen Ayub Khan in the 1964 general election. Fatehyab Ali Khan, a lawyer by profession, also played a significant role in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against Gen Ziaul Haq’s military regime.

He was married to Dr Masooma Hasan, herself a respected scholar who was later Pakistan’s ambassador to Austria; they have two sons. Dr Hasan served as chairperson of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA), a post that Fatehyab Ali Khan also later held.

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One Response

  1. It is really sad to hear about the demise of Fatehyab Ali Khan. I remember his make-up with mustache while giving arrest during the Movement for Restoration of Democracy 1983 (MRD) against Gen Ziaul Haq’s military regime. I met him last in Islamabad back in1990

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