It was hot and humid 2010 evening, when the late Fauzia Wahab had invited this scribe over an Iftar dinner at Lahore’s Governor’s House.
While she was fasting, this correspondent found Fauzia sitting on the prayer mat, reading the Holy Quran, going through its literal translation and interpretation with utmost devotion.
“Don’t laugh at me. I am no mullah, but we need to know what Allah has directed us to do. Alas, none of us wishes to believe that we all have to die one day and revert back to the Creator with all our misdeeds,” Fauzia Wahab had remarked while wrapping up the prayer rug shortly before the Maghrib azan.
Tears rolled down her eyes as she discussed the Quranic verses with this relatively ‘ignorant’ guest.
After dinner, she opted to have a long walk around the spacious lawns of the Governor’s House, a building she loved most for its grandeur, architecture and ambiance.
This scribe had a chance to meet Fauzia about half a dozen times during her tours to Lahore. On all these occasions, she was quite perturbed about what she dubbed “media’s harsh stance” against President Asif Zardari.
“Come what may, I will stand by the president always. If he is guilty of any wrongdoing — are all his critics angels? I mean, enough is enough! Your media regularly targets a man who hates to defend himself. Not fair. All guns are pointed towards a single man,” she would opine.
Fauzia was a friend to her children too.
Though she would regularly reprimand her young sons, Ali and Murtaza, out of affection, she was extremely liberal with them as well.
With her untimely death, the waiters at the Governor’s House would also miss this soft-spoken and generous lady politician.
“See, I can do nothing to practically end the miseries in their lives, but the faces of these poor waiters shine when I talk to them about their families. You know they will feel very happy and quote their interaction with me for days. I can give them nothing more than a few good words,” she would turn back to this correspondent and elaborate the reason for her frankness with the waiters.
And yes, all these waiters would stand in a queue, while Fauzia used to pack up before departing for Karachi.
And this was quite a common sight always.
Married twice, the 56-year old Fauzia Wahab had worked for the Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Leasing as a Marketing Manager between 1993 and 1996.
Very few would know, as she had told this scribe herself, Fauzia Wahab had also acted in writer Haseena Moin’s drama serial ‘Kohar’ in 1991 during the life-time of her first husband — the late television anchor Wahab Siddiqui.
When the convoy of the PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto was attacked in Karachi by a suicide bomber on October 18, 2007, she was also aboard the truck carrying her party leader.
She would often recall the terrifying moments when Benazir’s convoy was targeted.
While Fauzia was impressed with her party mate Sharmila Faruqui’s conviction and sincerity for the PPP, she was a fan of the sitting Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira’s logical conversation and polite tone.
“We need more people like them, honestly. They do their homework properly before coming to any television programme,” Fauzia would often assert.