Revolutionary Leader CR
Aslam Breathes His Last
great revolutionary leader, intellectual, and political strategist
Chaudhry Rehmat Aslam, popularly known as CR Aslam, died in
Lahore on Tuesday. He was 92.
CR Aslam was a topnotch revolutionary theoretician, party
organizer and movement leader, rivaled only by Sajjad Zaheer,
Ferozuddin Mansoor and Sibte Hassan. His struggle against
colonialism, imperialism, feudalism and militarism spanned
a period of seventy years. A revolutionary to his core, he
was, along with Sajjad Zaheer, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sibte Hassan,
and Abid Minto, one of the prominent prisoners of the so-called
Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case.
Born in village Kot Nizam Din, CR was the son of a small landholder
who could not afford to send his third son for college education
in Lahore. CR preferred to help his father, Muhammad Aulia,
in farming and continued his studies privately. After his
elder brothers had completed their education, CR, too, was
supported by his father and joined the University Law College.
He earned a degree in law in 1936. Later he also earned a
master’s degree in economics.
While the famous national daily Nawa-i-Waqt published the
news of the death of CR Aslam, curiously it forgot to mention
that CR Aslam was its first publisher. In 1936, Nawa-i-Waqt’s
declaration was filed in the name of CR Aslam and it was he,
along with Hameed Nizami, Mulana Abdul Sattar Niazi and Hamid
Mahmoor, who had launched it from Beadon Road. The paper was
then published as a weekly. All four were old class fellows.
In 1951, CR directed labor leader Mirza Ibrahim’s election
campaign for a seat in the Punjab Assembly. Most poll watchers
believe that Mirza Ibrahim was denied a much-deserved victory
due to poll rigging. This was the first ever election in the
newly established Pakistan, which was rigged on a massive
scale, under the instructions of prime minister Nawabzada
Liaqat Ali Khan.
In 1954, the Communist Party was banned and on July 24 the
same year, CR was arrested along with Ferozuddin Mansoor,
Mirza Ibrahim, Lal Khan, Sibt-i-Hasan, Hasan Abidi, Hameed
Akhtar, Rauf Malik and Abdul Ghani.
Former Prime Minster Z A Bhutto made several attempts to get
CR to join People's Party but CR always declined, preferring
to continue to organize workers and peasants instead. CR was
quick to resist Ayub Khan and Gen Zia ul Haq’s military
governments and was imprisoned by both dictators.
One of his most outstanding contributions was to organize
the 1968 Toba Tek Singh Kissan (Peasant) Conference, a landmark
in the political history of Pakistan .
CR educated three generations of Pakistani intellectuals and
activists in critical political thinking and organized civic
action. At one time, this pantheon had included names like
Lal Khan, Mirza Ibrahim, Feroz ud Din Mansoor, Ghaus Bakh'sh
Bizanjo, Mian Mehmood, Khawaja Rafiq, and Syed Mutlabi Faridabadi.
Today, Abid Hassan Minto is the only one alive.
A voracious reader of international literature, CR authored
more than a dozen books and thousands of articles. He personally
responded to every letter sent to him by party worker or an
Pakistani and Indian leaders, including former Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif, Abid Minto, ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali, and Prakash
Karat, Secrary General of the Communist Party of India (Marxist),
have mourned CR’s death and paid tributes to his services
to the toiling masses of Pakistan.