Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dr. Humayun Khan

Dr. Humayun Khan is the Chairman of Institute of Rural Management. He was educated at the prestigious Bishop Cotton School in Simla, India and later at Edwardes College Peshawar and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He holds an honours degree and an MA from Cambridge University. He was called to the Bar from Lincoln’s Inn, London in 1954. Later, he earned another MA and a Doctorate from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He joined the then Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1955 and served as Assistant Commissioner, Tank; Assistant Commissioner, Nowshera; Deputy Commissioner, Bannu; Political Agent, North Waziristan and Political Agent, Malakand.
He was Home Secretary, NWFP in the NAP-JUI Government in 1972-73, after which he moved to the Pakistan Foreign Service. He served in the country’s missions in Moscow and the UNO at Geneva before he was appointed Ambassador to Bangladesh in 1979. In 1984 he became Ambassador to India and served there for four and a half years. He returned as Foreign Secretary of Pakistan in 1988 and held the post till 1989, when Benazir Bhutto made him an OSD. On the dismissal of her first Government in 1990, he was appointed High Commissioner in London. He retired from government service in 1992 but was immediately selected as Head of the Commonwealth Foundation, an inter-governmental international organization with its headquarters in London. He held this position from 1993 to 2000, when he returned to Peshawar. He has since served on the National Finance Commission and on the Board of the National Rural Support Programme. He also works with the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy and on a number of committees dealing with relations between the countries of South Asia. He has written extensively on Indo-Pak relations and is co-author of DIPLOMATIC DIVIDE published in India.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Zeek Afridi

When Zeek Afridi sang Bibi Sheerinay (‘Sweet Lady’ in Pashto) everyone from children to grown ups joined in the chorus. The song has not just become an anthem of the undying Pashto spirit, but its catchy beat has conquered the entire nation as well. Today, it’s a challenge just to catch up with the singer who has single handedly revived the wavering interest in Pashto music.

From Tirah in Khyber Agency in Fata, the good-looking and soft-spoken Zahid Khan Afridi, popularly known as plain and simple Zeek, has finally arrived on the Pashto music scene it seems. He is rightfully being touted these days as yet another success story from the NWFP. “I wanted to break the monotony prevailing in Pashto music. Music is a passion with me. As most Pakhtun youngsters had almost given up listening to Pashto songs, I wanted to bring them back to their cultural roots. I don’t want to make music my profession as sometimes adopting an art as a profession robs one of talent,” says Zeek.

He always wanted to perform on stage during his school days but being an introvert child, would not dare make a public show of his talent. And so the young Zeek took admission in a music school in Peshawar run by an Afghan music teacher, Ehsan, where he learnt the intricacies of music for the next 16 months. “Ehsan was a Persian speaking music teacher. I went to great lengths to pay his fees, even subletting my hostel room at the university. I also sold my belongings to meet my music expenses. Eventually, I was able to play the harmonium, tabla and rabab. My first songs were drawn from Persian folk songs such as Bia keh birum ba mazaar and Wah wah dilber jan,” he says.

He says there is no dearth of talent but it needs a channel. “The new Pashto pop singers are doing well but learning music is a prerequisite. Selecting good poetry and then tunes should never be under-estimated.” His next album is expected to do more business as his Pakhtun fans have increased manifold even in countries such as Germany, UK, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa, America and Holland.

“Once you become recognized, you can draw fans from every age group and any culture. I want to raise funds for the Afghan refugee children who have been deprived of their rights to education and shelter for a long time now, and also do something for the earthquake affectees,” says Zeek Afridi with a spark of zeal in his eyes and determination in his voice.