January issue 2010
Remembering those with left us in 2009.
Nizar Rayan acceded to a position of authority in Hamas after the death of one of its founding members, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in 2004. Known for his fierce criticism of Israel’s policy towards and treatment of Palestinians, he was against holding any kind of peace talks with Israel. He and his family were killed in their home — which was reportedly used to store arms and ammunition — in an Israeli air strike.
Author, editor and translator of several publications, Pakistani journalist Khalid Hasan was an active participant on the political and literary front and much of his life and writings were devoted to politics. A senior reporter and columnist for The Pakistan Times in 1967, he became Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s press secretary and later the country’s foreign service representative — a position he resigned from in protest against General Zia-ul-Haq’s overthrow of the Bhutto government. He headed the Shalimar Television Network from 1997-2000 and contributed to two publications as correspondent and columnist until his death.
American actor Ron Silver was an international celebrity. Remembered for his appearance on the Tony Award-winning play Speed-the-Plow and television series The West Wing, he was actively involved in politics and world affairs. Although his support of President Bush was criticised by many, including his colleagues, he helped raise awareness on a number of issues including public education and First Amendment rights. Silver also founded the New York City-based Creative Coalition.
Justice Sabihuddin died of brain haemorrhage in his ninth year of serving as chief justice of the Sindh High Court. He was revered as one of the country’s best legal brains and for his honesty and integrity in office.
James Ballard was an English novelist who wrote mainly in the sci-fi genre. His books Crash and Empire of the Sun were later turned into films by David Cronenberg and Steven Spielberg respectively, and his short stories were made into televised plays aired on BBC. He had a significant influence on the pop music culture in Britain, and many a song and album title, as well as song lyrics were taken from Ballard’s works, including the song “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Ballard died of prostate cancer in London.
Renowned Pakistani ghazal singer Iqbal Bano turned into a revolutionary figure with her unforgettable rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s “Hum Dekhain Ge” in front of a crowd of 50,000 people in Lahore despite General Zia’s ban on the verses of Faiz. While Bano sang mainly the ghazal form, she also lent her voice to several musical numbers in films, some of which were popular hits. She was awarded the Pride of Performance by the Pakistan government for her contribution to music.
Heralded as one of India’s leading film heroes, Feroz Khan’s career flourished during the 1970s. He was termed the “Clint Eastwood of the East” for his personal sense of style which set him apart from the more eastern screen appearance of other fellow actors. Qurbani, which he directed and acted in, was a phenomenal success. He was awarded the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for Aadmi Aur Insaan in 1970 and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
Dr Mohammed Zawar Zaidi
Chief of the Quaid-e-Azam Papers Project, Dr Zawar Hussain Zaidi devoted much of his time to the compilation of the Quaid’s documents and letters and to make them available in reference sections across the country’s libraries. He authored 20 books, written in English, Urdu and Persian, and held the position of head of the history department at FC College, Lahore. He died of cardiac arrest at the age of 81.
Dr Mohammed Sarwar
Dr Sarwar, one of Pakistan’s top physicians and founders of the Pakistan Medical Association, is also remembered as a vociferous student activist of his time. He played a pivotal role in bringing to the attention of the concerned authorities, the needs of the students and was affiliated with the Inter-Collegiate Body, a conglomeration of student unions from various colleges, and the All Pakistan Students Organisation during his student days. He died of cancer at the age of 79.
Farrah Fawcett’s claim to fame was her role as Jill Munroe in the 1970s television series Charlie’s Angels. She went on to do dramatic portrayals of real life characters for which she won several Golden Globes and was also nominated for the Emmy’s. Fawcett’s charisma extended beyond the big and small screen, and she became an extremely popular pin-up girl. She died of cancer at age 62.
Kaleem Omar was ranked among the esteemed Pakistani English-language poets such as Taufiq Rafat, Maki Kureishi and Zulfikar Ghose, and his work appeared alongside theirs in anthologies. He was a journalist by profession and worked for The News. Omar is remembered by a colleague as “an encyclopedia unto himself.” He died of heart failure.
Known as the ‘King of Pop,’ Michael Jackson was a global legend. Starting his singing career as the youngest voice in the Jackson Five, he established a name of his own with his sensational hit album Thriller. Popular also for his signature dance move, the moonwalk, Jackson was as much an entertainer as singer. His life was surrounded by many a controversy, with frequent allegations of child abuse, and his death was no less controversial. Jackson died less than a month before what was to be his comeback concert in London.
Serving under President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara was the eighth secretary of defence in the US government. He came to adopt an anti-Vietnam war approach while in office, due to which he later resigned. His earlier prosecution of the Vietnam war, though, dogged him throughout his life although he redeemed himself somewhat when he headed the World Bank.
Known as ‘the most trusted man in America,’ Walter Cronkite was the anchor for CBS Evening news broadcast for nearly 20 years. He is best known for his official announcement of JFK’s death and for turning political opinion against the Vietnam war after declaring the Tet offensive a failure.
On the most-wanted list of the Pakistan and American governments, Baitullah Mehsud headed the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and was held responsible for the spate of suicide bombings in the country. He was blamed for Benazir Bhutto’s assassination as well as the attack on the Manawan police academy in Lahore. Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack.
Notorious criminal Rehman Dakait was killed in a police encounter after escaping from captivity several times in previous years. His death turned him into a kind of Robin Hood figure among the people of Lyari, the area in which he played a central role in the gang wars.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
The younger sister of JFK, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is best known for her work with physically and mentally handicapped children and for founding what became known as the Special Olympics. She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work in this field.
President of South Korea from 1998 to 2003, Kim Dae-Jung was the first president to serve a full term and the second person given a state funeral in Korean history. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his efforts to establish peace between North and South Korea and promote democracy against authoritarian rule
The youngest of the Kennedy siblings, Edward Moore Kennedy, better known as Ted Kennedy served as a senator for 46 years being re-elected nine times. This made him the fourth longest serving senator in US history. He died of a brain tumour.
Patrick Wayne Swayze
American actor Patrick Swayze is best known for his Golden Globe-nominated role in Dirty Dancing although he first rose to fame in Red Dawn. His other hits included Road House and Ghost. He died of pancreatic cancer.
Yousuf Khan, a noted Pakistani actor whose career spanned almost 50 years, appeared in over 400 films. He was one of the few actors who strove to keep alive the film industry in Pakistan, post-Partition. He died at the age of 80 of heart failure.
The Pakistani Raj Kapoor of the’60s and ’70s era, Syed Kamal worked as actor, director and producer in the film industry. Later in life he appeared on television in the extremely popular serial Kashkol.
Mohammed Baqir Naqvi
Mohammed Baqir Naqvi, better known as M.B. Naqvi, worked with a number of media organisations during his career as a journalist. Starting at the Indus Times, Hyderabad, he went on to work with Radio Pakistan and wrote frequently for Dawn, The News, Herald and Newsline, and foreign publications. Naqvi was also a human rights’ activist and a promoter of the cause of women and other exploited sections of society. He died of a heart attack at the age of 81.
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
Politician and one-time prime minister of Pakistan, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He holds the distinction of being the longest serving chief minister of Sindh and to have four sons serving at the same time in both the national and provincial assemblies, and the Senate.
US actress Britanny Murphy was found dead in her home after suffering a cardiac arrest. The 32-year-old actress began her acting career at the age of 14. She diversified her talents into the field of music and modeling and starred in several popular movies such as Just Married, Clueless and Girl, Interrupted. Murphy was also the voice of Gloria in the animated film Happy Feet.
President of the Pakistan Association of Women Lawyers (PAWLA), Rashida Patel was a renowned lawyer and active campaigner against the violation of women’s rights. She strove to create widespread awareness on women’s issues and challenged discriminatory laws such as the Hudood Ordinances, in a bid to have them abolished. She offered free legal advice to poor women and she was honoured with the PAWLA Lifetime Achievement Award.