Muhammad Izhar ul Haq, (Urdu: محمد اظہار الحق) is a columnist and a renowned poet of Urdu language, in Pakistan. He has received international recognition for his contribution to Urdu literature, and has been awarded Pakistan’s highest civil award Pride of performance in 2008. He has published four books of Urdu poetry and writes weekly column in daily Nawa-i-Waqt.
Born on 14 February 1948 in the village Jhendial, in the district of Attock in Punjab, Muhammad Izhar ul Haq got his early education from his grandfather and father. His grandfather, Ghulam Muhammad, was a famous scholar and jurist of his time and was known to teach Persian literature and language. Muhammad Izhar ul Haq’s father, Hafiz Muhammad Zahoor ul Haq Zahoor, also a scholar of high repute, was author of a number of books in Persian and Urdu in poetry as well as prose. Muhammad Izhar ul Haq topped in Government College Rawalpindi in graduation examination and was awarded Federal Government Inter-wing fellowship under which he did his MA Economics from Dhaka University. Later, he did MA in Arabic from Punjab University as external candidate and also learnt Uzbek language in Islamabad. In 1972, he joined the Civil Service of Pakistan after qualifying the Central Superior Services competitive examination. He ascended to the highest echelon of bureaucracy in the federal government, before retiring in 2008.
Widely travelled, he has explored Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, China, Australia, India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Somalia, Morocco, Italy, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Holland, Canada, USA and Mexico.
Muhammad Izhar ul Haq has three sons and two daughters, and lives with Zahida Shaheen, his wife, in Islamabad and Melbourne.
Muhammad Izhar ul Haq has four books of poetry to his credit:
1. Diwaar-e-aab (winner of Adamjee Award for Literature 1982)
2. Ghadr (1986)
3. Paree-zaad (1995)
4. Paani peh Bichha Takht (winner of Allama Iqbal Award 2003 )
Muhammad Izhar ul Haq is considered a trend-setter in modern Urdu Ghazal. His first book, Diwaar-e-aab (1982) won Adam Jee award, the highest literary distinction at that time in the country. His two subsequent books in Urdu poetry, Ghadr and Paree-zaad hit the stalls in 1986 and 1995 respectively. His fourth book, Paani peh Bichha Takht, was conferred yet another honor, Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal award, in 2003. Izhar is best known in the genre of Ghazal, although his mastery in free-verse and prose-poem has also been established among the literary circles of South Asia.
Sample English translation of Izhar ul Haq's poetry can be read in the anthology "Pakistani Urdu Verse, Oxford University Press 2010", translated and edited by Yasmeen Hameed.
Columns and Other Literary Works
Izhar ul Haq writes columns in the leading Urdu newspapers of Pakistan and abroad. He has been a regular columnist in Jang, Daily Jinnah and presently in Nawaiwaqt. Themes of his columns usually relate to politics and society, reform and development, religion, and ethics etc. Izhar ul Haq is noted for his unique style of literary prose and especially his command over classical Urdu and Persian literature. The title of his Urdu column is "Talkh Nawai", which translates to "bitter discourse". Izhar ul Haq is also an occasional contributor in The News (Jang group), The Bangladesh Today, The Age (Australia), and various other national and international newspapers.
Izhar ul Haq has also contributed in the research for implementation of Urdu in Pakistan, with the National Language Authority. In addition, he has also contributed with the National Language Authority as one of the compilers of the Qaumi English-Urdu Dictionary.
For his services to Urdu literature, Muhammad Izhar ul Haq was awarded Pride of Performance by the government of Pakistan in 2008.