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Eminent journalist Zafar Iqbal Mirza passes away at 83

Zafar Iqbal Mirza

LAHORE: Eminent journalist Zafar Iqbal Mirza passed away on Monday at the age of 83 after a journalistic career of more than 45 years. His funeral ceremony was attended by a number of journalists, activists and people from different walks of life at his residence in Lahore.

Mirza was born on August 9, 1936, and received his education from Government Central Model High School followed by Government College, Lahore.

He started his journalistic career in 1962 from The Civil and Military Gazette which was a daily English language newspaper founded in 1872 in British India and worked there until its closure in 1963. Later, he joined the Pakistan Times and retired from there in 1979.

Between 1979 and 1982, he joined The Muslim in Islamabad and was later appointed as an assistant editor at Dawn in 1983 where he worked till 2000 before becoming resident editor of the paper’s Lahore edition on June 15 the same year. He also served as a correspondent for The Pakistan Observer in 1970-71 and worked as a scriptwriter for Radio Pakistan and for Pakistan Television (PTV) apart from writing for The Frontier Post, Peshawar.

Mirza also worked in Hussain Naqi’s Punjab Punch and Mazhar Ali Khan’s weekly Viewpoint before joining The Muslim as its editor in Islamabad in 1981.

Former editor of Dawn, Abbas Nasir, said, “The first time I met the delightful man was in 1984 on my first trip to Lahore after joining Dawn. He was such a lovely soul.”

According to his colleagues, friends and students, Mirza, also known as Lahori, was a teacher and inspiration for two generations of journalists and aspiring writers. He was known for his spare style, sharp wit, big heart, vast reading and pluralist politics. He was a soft-spoken man and always had a twinkle in his eyes. He was a great conversationalist. There was no ego, no sense of self-importance and a clear ideological commitment to causes of justice everywhere.

Osama Mehmood, a scholar, said, “A poster of ‘Free Mandela’ on the wall behind his wicker chair, a cup of tea in his hand and the hot, airless confines of his office are my lasting memory of him and the smiling demeanor and a mind enriched by years of reading. May he rest in peace in a place where he meets old friends and finds all the books that he cherished as well as those yet unread.”

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