DEMISE OF AN ORGAN OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. By Dr. Stephen Gill
10 Aug 2003
The Christian community of Pakistan and human rights activists across the globe have lost their eminent spokesperson and a much respected writer with the passing of Umar Hayat Umar on May 13, 2003. Umar Hayat Umar was a vital part of the internal lit
Writing for Umar Hayat was not an esoteric exercise. Rather, it was the heart speaking in a straightforward, plain and eloquent language. He used his pen for the media of his heart to expose also violations of human rights. Umar Hayat was a daring writer who revealed beauty as well as ugliness of politics and religion with the same stroke of his pen. There is often bitterness in his writing, but that bitterness is medicine to cure the sickness of injustice to minorities, particularly to the Christians of Pakistan. He devoted most of his life to writing as a journalist, editor, and to educate people. He believed in the capacity to create and learn. To follow this belief, he founded Jodat International in 1991 that published special issues on Tahir Iqbal, Bantu Masih and on other subjects. He used this publication for the moral, spiritual, social and cultural improvement of Pakistani Christians.
He encouraged beginning and established writers through the pages of Jodat International. To encourage them further, he founded Pakistan Christian Writers Guild in 1978 that is active in several cities. He had been its secretary General and also president.
For his commitment and devotion to writing, I nominated Umar Hayat for the honor of the 1998 International Titus Brandsma Media Award of the International Catholic Union of the Press, called UCIP, in short. I mentioned in my letter that Mr. Umar Hayat wrote from his early life. He had been president of the Panjab Journalists Association. Those days, he was the head of the Pakistan Minorities Journalists Association. He had been also Secretary General of Pakistan Christian Writers Guild.
As a member of the UCIP, Umar Hayat attended gatherings in Germany, Austria and other countries and presented his informative papers. His love for Pakistan always brought him back. He used to say that there was no country in the world that was like Pakistan. He would identify himself with Pakistan-- the identity that he never wanted to part with. He projected his spirit of patriotism in several ways. Naulakha Presbyterian Church is a witness of that projection.
I mentioned in my letter of nomination that Jodat International released a special issue on the Golden Jubilee of Pakistan that included articles and poems to reveal the injustices, particularly the Blasphemy Laws which hang on the heads of minorities as a sword. I asked the UCIP to recognize Mr. Umar Hayat for his continuous bold stand for justice in a peaceful manner as a committed Christian writer. I invited the judges of the Titus Brandsma Award to read Men Pakistan Hun, Mr. Hayat's touching and impressive literary portrait of facts in the Golden Jubilee issue that was released in August 1997.
I admired Umar Hayat Umar for his intellectual abilities and crusades for human rights. I was shocked when Saadat Imran, his son, informed me of his death as a result of his accident on Easter that left his face wounded and his left collar bone fractured. He improved fast. Shortly after nine days, he began to bleed from his nose and mouth. Because he suffered also from Hepatitis, his condition rapidly deteriorated.
Umar Hayat was born in Lahore in 1940. His eldest son Saadat Umar is married to Sarah. They have two sons- Moses and Aaron. Jodat Kamran is the second son of Umar Hayat.. May God bless the family, relatives and friends with patience to bear this unbearable loss. It is relieving for the Christians within and outside of Pakistan that Jodat International will continue receiving nourishment under the care of Saadat Umar.