Tarek Fatah, a Pakistan-born Canadian author and activist known for his progressive views on Islam, his strong critique of Pakistan, and his support for the Baloch independence movement, has passed away at the age of 73 after a prolonged illness. Throughout his career as a political activist, journalist, and television host, Fatah remained a prominent voice advocating for human rights, secularism, and freedom of expression.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1949 to a Punjabi Muslim family, Fatah graduated with a degree in biochemistry from the University of Karachi. However, he chose a career in journalism, first as a reporter for the Karachi Sun and later as an investigative journalist for Pakistan Television. Fatah faced imprisonment twice by military regimes for his leftist student activism in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1977, the Zia-ul-Haq regime charged him with sedition and barred him from journalism.
Fatah left Pakistan, settling briefly in Saudi Arabia before emigrating to Canada in 1987. He often described himself as “an Indian born in Pakistan, a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness, grounded in a Marxist youth.”
Throughout his career, Fatah’s work encompassed various media, including authoring books such as “Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State” and “The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.” He also hosted television programs on Canadian networks discussing social and political issues.
One of Fatah’s most notable advocacy efforts was his support for the Baloch independence movement. He consistently raised awareness of the Baloch people’s struggle and campaigned for their self-determination.
Tarek Fatah’s daughter, Natasha Fatah, announced his passing on Twitter, writing: “Lion of Punjab. Son of Hindustan. Lover of Canada. Speaker of truth. Fighter for justice. Voice of the down-trodden, underdogs, and the oppressed. @TarekFatah has passed the baton on… his revolution will continue with all who knew and loved him.”
According to family sources, Fatah had been ill for some time and was hospitalized before his death on April 24, 2023, at St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada.
Fatah’s death has prompted an outpouring of condolences and tributes from supporters, fellow activists, and public figures who admired his dedication to truth and his efforts to challenge extremist ideologies.
The passing of Tarek Fatah signifies the loss of a committed and influential advocate for justice and human rights. He will be remembered for his critiques of oppressive policies and his support for those facing injustice, particularly the Baloch people.