India-born noted Pakistani feminist writer Fahmida Riaz dies

Riaz was also a human rights activist and the author of more than 15 books on fiction and poetry.

India-born noted Pakistani feminist writer Fahmida Riaz dies

NEW DELHI: Noted Pakistani feminist writer, poet and rights activist Fahmida Riaz died here. She was 73.

The eminent progressive writer, who was also hailed by many as the pioneer in feminist literature, had been suffering from illness for the past few months, reports Dawn news.

She died on Wednesday night.

Riaz was also a human rights activist and the author of more than 15 books on fiction and poetry and worked with Radio Pakistan and BBC Urdu service (Radio).

When “Badan Dareeda”, her second collection of verse, appeared in 1973, she was accused of using erotic and sensual expressions in her poetry. The themes prevalent in her verse were, until then, were considered taboo for women writers.

Born into a literary family of Meerut (India) in July 1946, Riaz, in addition to her literary pursuits, always played an active role in social and political activities.

She lived in self-exile for over six years in India when former military dictator General Zia-ul Haq ruled over Pakistan in early 1980s.

She was appointed managing director of what was then the National Book Council of Pakistan during the first Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government (1988-90).

In Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure as Prime Minister, she became associated with the Ministry of Culture.

In 2009, she was appointed the chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board in Karachi. She was considered as pioneer of feminist literature in Pakistan.

She has one daughter from first marriage and two children from her second marriage.

Famous Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie condoled Riaz’s death and termed her “one of the brightest of lights in the dark days” of dictatorship.