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The News Op-ed Editor Zainul Abedin passes away

January 31, 2021


KARACHI: A veteran journalist and op-ed editor of The News, Zainul Abedin, passed away at a private hospital in Karachi on Saturday morning. He was 49.

Abedin had earlier spent a week at the hospital in North Nazimabad where he was treated for some health problems, which were compounded by the novel coronavirus he was diagnosed with.

He was buried at Sakhi Hasan graveyard. His close friends performed the last rites, as people were advised against attending his funeral and burial due to Covid-19 concerns.

Abedin joined the op-ed section of The News as assistant editor in 2006. He served as op-ed editor of the newspaper for over a decade. He had started his journalistic career as a sub-editor at The News and also worked at Dawn and Daily Times newspapers in various capacities.

He was an avid reader and spent most of his spare time and money on books. “Although, Abedin shied away from the limelight, behind the scenes he was a powerhouse — fighting for space for his writers and refusing to compromise on what he believed in,” said Talat Aslam, Senior Editor, The News, Karachi.

He said Abedin had a very charismatic personality and always went out of his way to help and mentor young people. “To the very end, he enjoyed their company and loved nothing more than discussing philosophy, politics, and his progressive and Marxist ideas with them,” said Aslam.

According to his university fellows and friends, Abedin had formed ‘The Reasoners’, a group of left-leaning students at the University of Karachi where he was studying at the Department of International Relations in 1990s.

“At The Reasoners, for all of us, Abedin was a genius thinker. I cannot recall if anyone ever won debates with him, not even teachers at the department at the varsity,” said Mushtaq Rajpar, a senior analyst and Abedin’s close friend.

Many journalists also took to Twitter to react to the sad news. Prominent policy expert Mosharraf Zaidi said: “Zainul Abideen’s death is surreal & jarring. He was incredibly kind & gentle. With zero drama, oft without my knowledge, he fought to ensure our columns would be published unchanged. Every week.”

Kazim Alam, a journalist, said on Twitter, “Without exaggeration, he was one of the most well-read people I ever met. He owned and had read thousands of books on all sorts of topics. Worked with him directly for three years at The News. He left a deep impression on me.”

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz expressed profound grief over the death of senior journalist Zainul Abedin.

In a condolence message, the minister said the services of the deceased would be remembered for long. He prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the deceased in eternal peace and grant fortitude to the bereaved family to bear this huge loss.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also said that the rights body mourned the untimely passing of courageous journalist and op-ed editor Zainul Abedin. “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues,” the HRCP said in a tweet.

In its condolence message, Karachi Union of Journalists President Nizamuddin Siddiqui and general secretary Fahim Siddiqui condoled Abedin’s death, saying that he was a hardworking journalist and a decent man. They said his absence would be missed.