LAHORE, Dec 25: Noted journalist, intellectual and writer Ahmad Bashir died here of liver cancer at the Services Hospital on Sunday. He was 81. His family said the disease was detected in 2000 but he continued to fight it till last because of his strong will. He was admitted to the hospital around a month ago as he developed some serious health complications.

He has left behind a wife, four daughters and a son who is in America. His daughters include leading television artiste Bushra Ansari and short-story writer Neelam Bashir. Begum Parveen Atif, also a short story writer, is his sister, and his wife Mehmooda is a classical singer.

Born in Aimanabad near Gujranwala on March 24, 1923, Mr Bashir did his BA from Srinagar and soon went to Bombay for a career in acting but started writing for some film magazines.

He was a close friend of celebrated writer Mumtaz Mufti who helped him join the now defunct Urdu daily Imroze after the creation of Pakistan.

He was taken as a sub-editor in Imroze where he introduced feature writing for the first time in Urdu press in Pakistan.

Mr Bashir also worked for daily Musawat and NAFDEC during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government but resigned after Gen Ziaul Haq imposed martial law. He faced hardships during the Zia period during which he was never allowed to write his columns in newspapers.

He also obtained training in film direction from Hollywood.

He also wrote columns for daily Muslim and later The Frontier Post.

Mr Bashir was a portrait writer and he wrote profiles of people like Mumtaz Mufti, Krishan Chandar, Meera Ji, Zaheer Kashmiri, Maulana Chiragh Hasan Hasrat and Maulana Hasrat Mohani.

A fatwa was issued against him when Younas Javed published a collection of his pen sketches entitled Jo Miley They Rastey Mein.

Bashir wrote an autobiographical novel Dil Bhatkey Ga.

His funeral will be taken out from 30-E1, Gulberg III, near Main Market, after the Zohr prayers on Sunday.

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