Obituary: Journalist Khalid Hasan

February 12, 2009 by  


The Passing of a Lion of Letters

khalid_hasan
Eminent journalist Khalid Hasan

Washington, D.C.: Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center, solemnly expressed his deepest condolences at the passing away of the courageous, principled and legendary Pakistani journalist of Kashmiri ethnicity Khalid Hasan. ‘Khalid Hasan made countless imperative appeals for the international community, particularly in Dakar in 1991 and Casablanca in 1994 to bravely come forward and listen to the cries of the people of Kashmir.  This unwavering and confident voice for the downtrodden people of Kashmir will be sorely missed,’ quoted Dr. Fai.

Khalid Hasan was born in Srinagar and graduated from Murray College in Sialkot, Pakistan. His writings bore a distinctive air of the tragic, undoubtedly a consequence of the oppression he witnessed in Kashmir and catapulted him to channel that pain in a constructive manner. His illustrious career included being a Press Secretary for the Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and writing witty, insightful and inspiring columns for both the Daily Times and The Friday Times in Pakistan.  Moreover, his columns also appeared regularly in Kashmiri newspapers in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

More specifically, after Khalid Hasan’s visit to his ancestral homeland in Kashmir in 2004, he became ever more prolific in highlighting the sufferings of the people of Kashmir. ‘Particularly,’ spoke Dr. Fai, ‘he resented the inhumane manner in which the Indian army hideously planted itself as a protruding weed, in the garden of the Kashmir Valley, on every corner and street. This atrocious affront to Kashmiri dignity was deeply felt by this lion of letters.’

Today, this literary magician will be laid to rest, following Islamic funeral services at Darul Huda Islamic Center, Virginia.  A cross section of Americans, including people of Pakistani origin and Kashmiri origin from both sides of the Ceasefire Line are expected in attendance, to show the respect.  And, however, to declare that while his voice is silenced, his words will reverberate for future generations to come.

Profile of Khalid Hasan:

“Khalid Hasan is a senior Pakistani journalist and writer. He was born in Srinagar, Kashmir. He began his long career in journalism writing for The Pakistan Times, Lahore, as senior Reporter and Columnist in 1967. He was asked by [Pakistan’s Ex-Prime Minister] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, on taking office in December 1971, to join him as his first Press Secretary. He went on to spend five years in the country’s Foreign Service, with postings in Paris, Ottawa and London. He resigned in protest when the Bhutto Government was overthrown by General Zia ul Haq, and worked in London with the Third World Foundation and the Third World Media before leaving to join the newly-established OPEC News Agency (OPECNA) in Vienna, Austria, where he stayed for 10 years. He returned to Pakistan briefly in 1991, where he worked as a freelance journalist for the next two years. He moved to Washington DC in 1993 and worked out of there as U.S. Correspondent for The Nation, Lahore.

From 1997 to 2000, he was in Pakistan as head of the Shalimar Television Network. He returned to Washington in 2000 as Special Correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan [APP], which he left to join Daily Times and The Friday Times, Lahore, in 2002. He continues to work as the [U.S.] Correspondent and Columnist of these two publications in Washington. Khalid Hasan is a prolific writer and translator. He has published over 40 books in Pakistan and abroad.”

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