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Pakistan’s progressive Urdu writer Fahmida Riaz dies

Noted Pakistani progressive Urdu writer, poet, and rights activist Fahmida Riaz, who spent nearly seven years in exile in India, has died in Lahore following a prolonged illness. She was 73.

Fahmida breathed her last at a local hospital in Lahore on Wednesday night, according to her family. She had been suffering from illness for the past few months.

Born in 1945 in a literary family of Meerut, UP, India her family settled in Pakistan’s Hyderabad following her father’s transfer to Sindh province.

She was hailed by many as a pioneer in feminist literature. She authored more than 15 books on fiction and poetry. Her first literary work ‘Pather Ki Zuban’ was published in 1967.

Her collection of poetry includes ‘Dhoop’, ‘Pura Chand’, ‘Admi Ki Zindagi’ and more. Her novels include Zinda Bahar’, Godaavari’ and Karachi’. She was famous for her revolutionary and contrary to tradition poetry.

The liberal and politically charged content of ‘Awaz’ grabbed the attention of the regime of military dictator General Zia-ul Haq in early 1980s and both Fahmida and her husband Zafar were charged with various cases. The magazine was shut and Zafar was imprisoned.

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