Glowing and affectionate tributes were heaped on the late journalist Idrees Bakhtiar at an event held at the Arts Council on Saturday evening. Bakhtiar had passed away on May 29.
The Arts Council hall was packed to capacity which bore testimony to the late journalist’s popularity and his invaluable contribution to journalism.
Television personality Athar Vaqar Azeem, the first speaker of the evening, had a whole lot of nice things to say about the departed. “He was a complete journalist,” he said. He thoroughly praised Bakhtiar’s professional capability.
Journalist Mujahid Barelvi said, “Idrees was a bridge between the Left and the Right. His reporting was the most objective and never reflected any ideological inclination.”
Mrs Jafri, a former neighbour of Bakhtiar in Hyderabad, mostly recalled her and her families’ ties with the late journalist and described what a wonderful human being he was – loving, sincere and always ready to go out of his way to help others. Talking of his demise, she said she felt that she had been deprived of the most loving elder brother.
Shahabuddin Bakhtiar, Idrees Bakhtiar’s grandson, said they were having a hard time coming to the realisation that his grandfather was not there anymore.
Wasi Zaidi described his association with the departed. He recalled the days in Hyderabad when he, Bakhtiar and some other friends used to frequent coffee houses and restaurants to have intellectual discussions.
Zaidi said he had never seen Bakhtiar in a bad temper. He said despite being a rightist, he always served as a bridge between the Right and the Left.
Dr Qaiser Sajjad, terming Bakhtiar’s death an inalienable loss to journalism and society, said the most redeeming feature about the deceased’s nature was that he always controlled his temper. The speaker added that another virtue of Bakhtiar was that he never indulged in backbiting or discrediting others in their absence.
Journalist Mazhar Abbas was candid enough to admit that the two of them never agreed with each other on the matters of ideology. He, however, showered praises on Bakhtiar for his professional ethics.
Bakhtiar’s stories were never contradicted, Abbas said. He recalled the Pan Am Boeing 747 hijacking incident in Karachi in September 1986 and informed the event how Bakhtiar, despite the paucity of time, rushed to the airport and dug out a detailed story promptly. He referred to Bakhtiar as a complete journalist.
Like so many of the speakers before and after him, Nehal Hashmi said Bakhtiar never flew into a rage. He was the calmest and most good-tempered person one would ever come across, he said.
Journalist Pirzada Salman said the first time he met Bakhtiar was in London where they both were staying at the place of a common friend. “He was one of the counted few who always most generously appreciated his peers’ or his colleagues’ professional performance. This, Salman said, was a quality which was very, very rare among people as they were always reluctant to openly admit the professional performance of their co-workers.
Other speakers like Nazir Leghari and Anwar Ahmed Zai also narrated their experiences with the deceased and heaped all praise on him.
Arts Council’s Ahmed Shah also spoke on the occasion and said Bakhtiar was as wonderful a human being as he was as a journalist. He said the late journalist just never let his reports be tainted with ideological inclinations and was just the most professional reporter.
Journalist Qaiser Mehmood also spoke at the event.