PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: Rahimullah Yusufzai, a journalist of international fame, Resident Editor of The News and a great human being, departed for the eternal abode on Thursday after battling with a deadly cancer for 15 long months.
His funeral prayer would be offered in his village Inzargi, Katlang today (Friday) at 11 am. He was 67. Born on September 10, 1954 at Shamozai village near Katlang area of Mardan district, the great journalist would be laid to rest exactly on the day he had arrived in this mortal world. He left behind four sons and two daughters.
After receiving early education from his native village, Rahimullah Yusufzai moved to Jehlum with his father, who was serving in the armed forces. He enrolled on the Army College Jehlum to fulfill his family dream of joining army as a commissioned officer.
He was tall and handsome. He was brilliant in his academic and extracurricular activities. His intelligence and performance on stage and in ground earned him great popularity in the prestigious institution.
He had achieved excellent marks in his academics and awards for his best performance on stage in the college activities. He was so handsome that he would play both the role of male and female in the college dramas. He was doing so well in his college and was fully prepared for joining the armed forces as an officer when he got problems with his eyesight and thus, he became ineligible for the army.
Perhaps someone had cast an evil eye on him as he ceased to continue his studies at the army college, Jhelum after his matriculation and he came back home. During the same period his father was detained in Bangladesh and he spent two years in Indian prison.
Rahimullah Yusufzai, being the elder son of his father, had to take care of the family at the tender age. However, he continued his studies by taking admission in Government College Mardan in higher secondary classes.
Later, he moved to Karachi to do some job and continue his studies as well. He took admission in the famous DJ Science College, Karachi. Simultaneously, he continued doing odd jobs to bear his educational expenses and support his family as well.
After his graduation, he got an opportunity to serve as a copy holder in an English daily newspaper and from here his journey towards excellence started. He moved to Islamabad after working in Karachi for a few years and here he served in a research organisation.
Later, he joined The Muslim, an English Daily as bureau chief, in Peshawar. In early 90s, when The News was launched, he joined it as bureau chief in Peshawar and later he was elevated as Resident Editor. He continued serving in The News till his last breath.
Together with his job in The News, he continued serving in leading world organisations like British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Times Magazine and others. He was a committed hard worker. He would never hesitate from going to the most difficult and dangerous destination in connection with his journalistic responsibilities and would file great stories.
He was the only journalist, who had interviewed Osama bin Laden, on multiple occasions at a time when the latter was the most wanted person in the world. He was also the lone journalist to have interviewed Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder head of Afghan Taliban and the former ruler of Afghanistan.
Rahimullah Yusufzai was the real expert of Afghan affairs and the war against terror. His interviews on television, radios and his writings in newspapers would truly educate a person who intended to know about the conflict on both sides of the borders and other issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He was no doubt the greatest journalist of the region. He trained a galaxy of good journalists in the country. He was a great boss. It was an honour to work with him. He was a great teacher as well.
Blessed with matchless professional qualities Rahimullah Yusufzai was nice human being. He was having a very humble nature. He would give respect to all and sundry. He would listen patiently to anyone talking to him and would respond in a very gentle manner.
Though he used to remain very busy all the time, he would never switch his phone off and would pick up the phone call of everyone whether he knew him or not and would respond to the caller in a positive manner.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Thursday have condoled death of award winning-journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai.
The prime minister said he was saddened to learn of Rahimullah Yousafzai’s passing. In a tweet, PM said, “Saddened to learn of Rahimullah Yousafzai's passing. He was one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists. He was an opinion maker because his columns were well researched. My condolences & prayers go to the family”.
Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has expressed heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of veteran senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, says an ISPR press release on Thursday.
“May Allah bless his soul & give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss, Ameen”, COAS said. While condoling passing away of senior journalist, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the death of Rahimullah Yousafzai is the end of an era of journalism. “His grip on Afghanistan and our border areas can hardly be anyone else's. May Allah grant him eternal peace and bless him with Jannah, and give patience to the bereaved family,” Fawad said in a statement here.
Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali condoled the sad demise of veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai. He said that Rahimullah Yusufzai was a well-respected journalist and used to take special care in writing stories for his newspapers.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) has condoled the sad demise of senior Journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai who expired in Peshawar after a prolonged illness, says a press release.
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