LAHORE, July 10: Veteran poet, short story and drama writer and columnist Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, who died here on Monday morning of asthmatic problems after a short illness, was laid to rest in a local graveyard. He was 89.

Qasmi Sahib had been admitted to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology on Saturday with complaints of asthmatic and cardiac discomfort. His condition worsened on Sunday and he breathed his last at 9am on Monday.

He has left behind a daughter and a son.

His funeral prayers were offered at 5:30pm at an Imam Bargah opposite his house in what was once the local literati’s hub, Ghalib Colony, in Samanabad. He was later laid to rest at a nearby graveyard.

Government officials, including the Punjab governor, and people from literary and art circles and politicians attended the funeral in large numbers.

Among the literati coming to Lahore from Islamabad and elsewhere to pay their last respects were Fateh Mohammed Malik, Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Nahid and Mansha Yaad.

The Lahore-based writers, poets and intellectuals who attended the last rites included Bano Qudsia, I. A. Rahman, Intizar Hussain, Munnoo Bhai, Dr Sohail Ahmed Khan, Dr Saleem Akhtar, Masood Ash’ar, Amjad Islam Amjad, Asghar Nadeem Syed and artist Mujid. Former Punjab governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar also attended the funeral prayer.

Chief Minister Pervaiz Ellahi has condoled the death of Mr Qasmi, terming it the biggest loss to Urdu literature since Faiz Ahmed Faiz. “He was the only one who stood at the top of the ladder in both poetry and prose. With his death has come to an end an entire era in Urdu literature,” he added.

Among the many laurels garnered by the senior man of letters, Qasmi Sahib was also the recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance (1968) and the Pakistan Academy of Letters’ lifetime achievement awards and the country’s highest civil honour, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, for literature.

During his long career as writer and editor, Qasmi Sahib had the distinction of having edited many prestigious journals, including Phool, Tehzeeb-i-Niswaan, Adab-i-Lateef, Savera, Naqoosh and his own brainchild Fanoon. He also served as the editor of the prestigious (now defunct) Urdu daily Imroze.

His best known collections include Jalal-o-Jamal, Shola-i-Gul and Kisht-i-Wafa (poetry), Chopaal, Sannata, and Kapaas ka Phool (short story collections).

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