Deserved recipient of Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Pride of Pakistan

A literary light has gone out – Nawabzada Mirza Jamiluddin Ahmed Khan, better known as Jamiluddin Aali – noted Urdu poet, critic, playwright, essayist, columnist and scholar of Pakistan has passed away.
Staunchly Pakistani, Aali wrote many a patriotic song, in addition to his couplets, ballads and travel literature. He started with the ghazal and moved on to the doha.
Aali was, in fact, born to a literary family in Delhi. His grandfather Nawab Allauddin Ahmed Khan was a friend and student of Ghalib. His father Sir Ameeruddin Ahmed Khan was also a poet and his mother Syeda Jamila Baigum belonged to the family of Mir Dard. Aali earned a BA in Economics from Anglo Arabic College, Delhi.
In 1947, after the partition of India, his family migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi. He joined the Civil Services of Pakistan in 1951. In 1971 he obtained an FEL and LLB from Karachi University. Aali was also a former member of the Pakistan People’s Party. In 1997, he was elected as member of the Senate for a six-year term with support of Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
During the 1965 war, Aali was approached by the PIA chairman of the time to write a song of unity, which is when he wrote “Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan”, which has gone on to become one of the most popular anthems of Pakistani patriotism. Shahnaz Begum was called upon to sing the song, which released on August 14, 1971. Moved by the plight of the prisoners of war following the 1971 war, he composed “Aey des ki hawaoin, sarhad ke par jao” in 1972. Then, as the world celebrated Women`s Year in 1976, Aali composed “Hum ma-ain, hum behnain, hum baiteyan” – a song that was banned by the Zia regime and was subsequently employed by the Benazir government. In 1986, Aali wrote a song “Jo nam wohi pahchan, Pakistan”, at the request of former Pakistani president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. In 1996, he composed another national song “Mera inam Pakistan”, for the celebrated singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In 1999, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requested a national song “Yaum-i-amn-o-baqa”.
He has visited many countries and written travelogues on three of them, including Iceland, a rarity. He had been writing a weekly Urdu column for over 45 years and the columns have filled several volumes. These well researched columns have been an endless source of information.
In 1991, Aali won the Pride of Pakistan and in 2004, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz.
Aali had been suffering from diabetes and respiratory illnesses. He reportedly died of a heart attack on November 13, 2015 in Karachi leaving behind his wife, three sons and two daughters. The entire nation feels this literary loss – condolences go out to his family.

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