I knew Taufiq since 1996 when we got together and held the first public meeting introducing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Short in height, a courteous young man, introduced himself to me as the nephew of Bostan Ali Hoti who was a stalwart of Karachi.
Many years went by and in our struggle for Insaf in the country we went through many arrests, and beatings. Our friendship borne of mutual respect of our sacrifices grew stronger, and there was a strong bond of love. Come 2013 elections, Taufiq was not able to contest because his papers were rejected on a technicality. He did not live in NA250 but was in the neighbouring constituency and worked hard for me and Khurrum Sherzaman our young candidate and now a very active MPA from PS113.
Taufiq was a soft spoke person. Never vying for the stage or for pushing himself into a picture. Such people are rare in the current elbowing tradition in politics where many a leader is looking for photo-ops only. Why was his name not in a press release or why was his photograph missing or why was he missed out in a meeting were never issues which bothered him. It was perhaps below him even to think about such things, and he was a man of dignity.
The last time I met him was on the Sunday before his death. He was urging me to attend a marriage ceremony in Arambagh masjid of a son of our mutual friend Malik Javed’s son. While I had an urgent meeting to attend to in Islamabad I cancelled my earlier flight and took a late night flight as I could not refuse Taufiq's request and of course that of Malik Javed.
He was out on the street outside Arambagh Masjid to welcome me along with his son, a bright and smart young man Tauseeq, Mohammad Arif (also got killed) who was a very devoted party worker and many other party people. As I had arrived much before Asar prayers we sat in the old Arambagh masjid for a couple of hours meeting people. In between we talked about the area. He mentioned that an Imam of a mosque near his house had been killed and he was suspicious that as the Imam was very critical of the 'Bhatta' being collected in the name of a political party, he may have been the target, but he was not sure.
He mentioned that he too can be a target, but as usual we thought that this was the peril of living in Karachi though this time he was more concerned than usual. I had never seen him as worried so I asked him what can I do. He said life is in Allah’s hands, nobody can change a minute in that timing. We let it go at that, not knowing that his words would be so ominous and I would lose a very dear and brave friend who stood by the party and its ideals for more than a decade and a half. May Allah hold you dear, and may he award you Taufiq, for all the good deeds you have done.
Mohammad Arif also lost his life. May his soul rest in peace. He too was a man of great commitment and it is a great loss to the city of Karachi that those who work for peace are lost in this manner.