Tuesday April 16, 2024

Imran Aslam’s death widely condoled

By Our Correspondent
December 03, 2022

KARACHI: Veteran journalist and President of Geo-Jang Group Imran Aslam passed away on Friday at a local hospital. He was 70.

According to family sources, he was unwell for some time and was undergoing treatment at a local hospital where he breathed his last. Imran is credited with introducing a refreshing mixture of literature and satire with his characteristic one-liners and puns, into the editorials and stories that apart from appreciation also earned him the umbrage of power corridors.

He was a loving and respected mentor to a whole generation of journalists that started their careers under him in The Star and The News, drawing the label of ‘Typewriter Guerrillas’ for their incisive and investigative stories.

Not known to employ a stiff upper lip or terse discipline, a tradition of the editors of his time, the multi-dimensional polymath that Imran was relished in a more down-to-earth and informal work style that fuelled bold and hard work by journalists and editors without imposing his own style encouraging new and individual styles of writing and subbing a news copy.

Imran Aslam was born in Madras, India, in 1952. He subsequently studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) where he read economics, politics, and international relations in the ‘70s.

His first job, at the age of 24, was as director of Sheikh Zayed’s Royal Flight, managing the royal fleet and secret travelling schedules of famous politicians, Middle East leaders and members of the royal family.

Imran began his journalistic career as the editor of an English-language newspaper The Star in the 1980s. In the 1990s, he became one of the founding members of The News International and remained the senior editor and chief news editor of the newspaper. Later, Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Super were also launched under his leadership as President of the Geo-Jang Group.

Excelling both in Urdu and English, he was also an acclaimed playwright and wrote over 60 plays for TV and theatre and dozens of advertising jingles and lent his mesmerising voice that launched many ads.

He also appeared in a few TV and stage plays as an actor and is said to be the lead actor in a docudrama based on the letters and life of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. He was married to the well-known sports journalist Farishteh Aslam.

According to his son Taimur, his funeral prayers will be offered at 4 pm on Saturday at his residence A/3, Marine Blessing, Block 3, Clifton, behind the South City Hospital and burial will take place at DHA graveyard in Phase 8.

Aslam’s demise triggered an outpouring of grief from various quarters, including fellow journalists, politicians, businessmen and others. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the death of the President of Jang and Geo Group Imran Aslam.

In a statement on Friday, the premier said Imran Aslam had an eminent place in the journalistic community. He said Imran Aslam’s services for the development of media will always be remembered.

President Dr Arif Alvi also offered his condolences. The president on his Twitter said: “I offer condolence on the death of a dear friend & an outstanding journalist Mr Imran Aslam. A thorough gentleman & a person who had a deep understanding of issues.

“May his soul rest in peace & may Allah provide strength to family & friends to bear this loss,” he added. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also offered condolences on the death. In her message, she said that Aslam had a brilliant journalistic career and that his journalistic services will always be remembered.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also expressed his condolences over Aslam’s demise. “Imran Aslam’s services in journalism and literature will always be remembered,” said the Sindh CM.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Pakistan Peoples Party Vice President Sherry Rehman said; “Deeply saddened to hear about Imran Aslam’s passing in Karachi. Describing what he was or what he excelled in is beyond this space. Tippu as he was known, was a polymath, as well as a dear friend from decades of journalism together. Pakistan’s cultural space lost a big creator.”

In his condolence message, CM Punjab Pervez Elahi extended heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family and paid tributes to Imran Aslam’s services for the promotion of media industry. He said that Imran Aslam introduced innovations in media and his journalistic and literary services would not be forgotten. Imran Aslam’s role in making Geo a popular TV channel would always be remembered. May Allah Almighty rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant patience to the bereaved heirs,” he added.

In his message of condolence, JUIF chief Fazlur Rehman said, “I am deeply saddened by the death of the president of Geo and Jang Group.” He added that his journalistic services will be remembered.

Former Pakistan’s ambassador at the UN in New York and ambassador to the US and UK Dr Maleeha Lodhi said: “Heartbroken to hear about the passing away of Imran Aslam. An outstanding professional, a caring human being and a close friend. May Allah give him a place in Jannat. Ameen.”

The Embassy of the United States of America, Islamabad, from its official Twitter handle tweeted: “The U.S. Embassy expresses its deep condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of veteran journalist and media giant Imran Aslam. His foundational role in Pakistan’s broadcast media instrumentally strengthened Pakistani civil society and he will long be remembered.”