A tribute to Kanwal Naseer

By Ahmad Jawad
Tue, 04, 21

Kanwal Naseer was Pakistan’s first female announcer, first female newscaster, first female host, first female drama artist and first female producer. This week You! remembers this iconic figure in our broadcasting history…


Serving in Television and Radio, while maintaining the high standard of broadcasting for 56 years, is a record that is unmatched and only held by Kanwal Naseer. She was an anchor who didn’t use a single English word if she spoke in Urdu, and vice versa if she were speaking in English or Punjabi. This distinction was held by Kanwal Naseer. Today, we hardly have an example where an anchor could speak in these three languages with equal fluency, enunciation and without mixing words from other languages – and this example is not limited to female anchors but also to male anchors.

Kanwal Naseer set a unique example and became a role model on-screen with her style, poise, elegance and personality. She encouraged a sentiment of respect and reverence among the viewers. Unique combination of grace, beauty, attraction and respect is something perhaps we could rarely find in show business these days.

Naseer was given the ‘Pride of Performance Award’ by President Pervez Musharraf while President Mamnoon Hussain presented the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and also organised an event of tribute in her honour. For many years, Kanwal’s name was also recommended for ‘Sitara-e-Imtiaz’. Naseer and Tariq Aziz were of those artists who were the founders of Pakistan Television and remained associated with it from day one to the next 56 years… or until they passed away.

Another distinction for Kanwal was that she was the youngest member of the television founding team. She started in radio at the age of seven and started in television at the age of 16. Naseer was Pakistan’s first female announcer, first female newscaster, first female host, first female drama artist and first female producer. She represented Pakistan’s culture in 16 countries with the same elegance which was part of her personality.

In her final days, she played the role of a grandmother for a drama serial, which is currently being shown on a TV channel. Haseena Moin was writing a role for Kanwal Naseer in her next drama serial, but they both left this world.

I request the President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, Minister for Culture and Heritage, Shafqat Mahmood, and Minister for Information, that national heritage in the form of work performed by Kanwal Naseer should be recognised. Her work should be preserved for training and inspiration. National heritage must never be wasted; it’s preserved for our coming generations.

After burying Kanwal Naseer, I was pleasantly surprised when bouquets of flowers were placed on the grave on behalf of Chief of Army Staff and ISPR Radio. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Niazi condoled with Kanwal Naseer’s daughter. Shafqat Mahmood sahib has always showed compassion and respect on such occasions.

Kanwal Naseer, Haseena Moin, Shaukat Ali have left some silent messages, which must be read and understood, I have made a small effort to decrypt these messages, hoping my words may touch your heart.

The author is the Central Secretary Information of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf