Archival photos – AISF, APSO, DSF, PMA, Dow Medical College

AISF group at Allahabad U. 1948; Akhtar front left

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“Students Movement leaders remembered: Revival of student activism termed must for reshaping society” – PPI report

Rahat Kazmi listens to Alia Amirali's fiery speech. Photo by Sakhawat Ali

PPI report by Azhar Khan

KARACHI, Jan 10 (PPI): In order to bringing positive, deep and lasting sociopolitical changes in Pakistani society it is necessary that students should play their due role and mount pressure on the policymakers through their activism to focus on the burning problems faced by our society and its people. For this purpose it is a must that student unions should be strengthened and their elections held on urgent basis.

This was said by speakers of a moot here on Saturday evening at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of “Students Movement 1953”.

This historic student movement was launched by Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, which played an important role in strengthening the leftist student movement in Pakistan.

Hundreds of students and civil society members attended the moot and paid rich tributes to the martyrs of “Students Movement 1953”. They also paid rich tribute to Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, who they said was the core catalyst for the formation of Students Unions for the first time in Pakistan. Continue reading

‘Youth to celebrate student movement of 1953’

The News, Saturday, January 09, 2010

By Shahid Husain

Karachi

In the death of Dr Mohammad Sarwar on May 26, 2009 the progressive and democratic movement in Pakistan lost one of its best sons. He was equally loved by veterans such as Sobho Gianchandani, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Syed Sibte Hasan and youngsters who frequented his residence in Clifton.

Born in Allahabad, UP, India, in 1930 Dr Sarwar was studying for a BSc in his hometown when he, along with a group of fellow students, came to Pakistan in 1948 “to see what the new country was like,” and decided to stay for good.

Dr Sarwar graduated in 1954, a year later than he was initially supposed to graduate, because fellow students asked him to stay for one more year so that the All-Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO), which was established in 1953, could be set up properly.

I remember we would visit his clinic in Firdous Colony in Nazimabad in late 1960s to collect funds when National Students Federation (NSF) launched a protest movement against military dictator Gen. Ayub Khan and he was always generous. In fact he handed over his entire day’s earnings to us and we made it a point to visit his clinic late so that we may get more fund.
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PRESS RELEASE: “LOOKING BACK TO LOOK FORWARD”

KARACHI, Jan 6: Students traditionally observed January 8th as ‘Martyrs’ Day’ in memory of the students and passers-by killed by police firing on Jan 7, 1953, during the peaceful ‘Demands Day’ procession organised by Inter Collegiate Body (ICB) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF). The High School Students Federation (HSSF) also actively participated in this movement and some of those killed were high school students.

Their demands were education-related, including: revise the fee structure (make fees payable monthly instead of six-monthly), improve laboratory, library, and hostel facilities, build a proper University in Karachi (where none existed) and provide security of employment to graduates. The High School Students Federation also actively participated.
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Reference for student leader – press release

Press Release

for favour of publication


Lahore August 6: A Reference for the pioneering student leader Dr. Muhammad Sarwar will be held here at HRCP’s Dorab Patel Auditorium on Saturday August 8 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst founding leaders of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and the All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO). He was also instrumental in the formation of Inter-Collegiate Body of Karachi (ICB) which along with DSF spearheaded the students struggle for the acceptance of students charter of demands in 1953.

Twice elected to the office of General Secretary (national), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) that continues to play a leading role in the affairs of medical profession, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst those who had formulated a people-friendly health policy. It was unfortunate that the policy, duly presented to the concerned quarters by the PMA, remains unimplemented.

Born at Allahabad, Dr. Sarwar came to Pakistan in 1948 and joined Dow Medical College,Karachi. After graduation he practiced for over forty (40) years at his clinic in the lower middle class locality, Golimar,

Coinciding with his Birthday, the Reference for Dr.Muhammmad Sarwar, will be addressed by Mr. Hameed Akhtar; Mr.I.A. Rehman;Mr. Abid Hasan Minto;Dr. Haroon Ahmad, Dr. M. Ilyas, Prof. Afzal Tauseef, Ms. Salima Hashmi; Dr.Izhar Chaudhry General Secretary PMA,Punjab, Mr.Farooq Tariq LPP leader,Mr.S.M. Naseem former editor “Students’ Herald”, Zaman Khan, Ammar Ali Jan, Dr. Farrukh Gulzar and Zakia Sarwar.

The Reference will be followed by tea. Later, participants may join discussion to be facilitated by Mr. S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar and Ali Cheema.

Issued on behalf of: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Muhammad Sarwar

By (Husain Naqi)


NOTE: MR MINHAJ BARNA AND DR ENVER SAJJAD ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN LAHORE FOR THE REFERENCE

‘What he started will never die’ – Dr M. Ayub Mirza

In Memory of Dr M. Sarwar

Dr M. Ayub Mirza

Dr Sarwar was a great man and a wonderful friend. When, in the early 1950s, we were both at Dow Medical College we helped to found a students organisation. Later, we founded the All Pakistan Students Organisation. I remember very well an incident from those early times. Sarwar made a speech in the Medical Students’ Hall, the first political speech to have been made by a student in that college. This was an incredibly courageous act in those times. We had written the speech together, sitting in his elder sister’s house (Sadiqa – Mrs Dr Waheeduddin) where Sarwar had been staying at the time.

Within a few days, five other students had joined us, and gradually, we grew. Unfortunately, previously, all the students had had to commit themselves, in writing, to not forming a political entity on the premises of the college. We got round this by forming the Students’ Organisation, in a restaurant on the nearby Bandar Road and holding meetings there! We did not talk politics in the student hostel, because we didn’t trust the staff. We would write and rehearse speeches together. We were communists. Eventually, the majority of the students came to support us.

Our activities became known to the college authorities and the Principal was very angry. Both Sarwar and I were threatened with expulsion, and this created uproar in the College, with both students and – albeit confidentially – even some staff members declaring their support for us. The students threatened to go on strike.

Later, as is well-documented, on account of the political situation in Pakistan, we also went to jail together. We’d been sentenced to a year in prison, but street protests led to our early release.

Dr Sarwar was a very great friend of mine and in the most positive sense was a real gentleman. I know that he was a dedicated and caring physician. We kept in touch until I left Pakistan in the early 1990s. I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing and I offer my sincere condolences to his wife and family.

What he started will never die.

Transcribed from an oral interview,

Glasgow, Scotland,

August 2, 2009

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