KARACHI: It’s a thoughtful gesture on the part of the Karachi Press Club to organise programmes to honour living media persons who have achieved notable feats in their career. In that regard, a very interesting event was held to pay tribute to senior journalist Abdul Hameed Chhapra on Monday evening.
Mr Chhapra, in his trademark animated style, recalled the people who had influenced him in his career and helped him grow as a pen-pusher. He emphasised that a true journalist learned from cradle to grave, and a true reporter was one who did ‘on-the-spot’ reporting, fearing no one.
Mr Chhapra pointed out that in his career he found out that Karachi’s journalists, compared to some of their colleagues belonging to other parts of the country, were more truthful to their job, and were not ‘saleable commodities’ (zarkhareed nahin hain).
He said the Karachi Press Club was an institution; individuals came and went, but institutions remained intact. He told his media friends that the KPC was first established in a room opposite the Sindh Madressah College.
Mr Chhapra said in his tenure and the tenures when he was active in the KPC functions, the club memberships were awarded to Dr Abdus Salam, Josh Malihabadi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
He narrated that when Kausar Niazi had gone against the poet Habib Jalib, he and his team awarded the poet the lifetime membership of the club. They also celebrated Faiz’s 70th birthday at the club, for which the poet’s wife, Alys, who was taller than Mr Chhapra, hugged him. Faiz was in Beirut those days.
Speaking on courageous journalists, Mr Chhapra mentioned the names of the late Minjah Barna and Nisar Osmani. He said Mr Osmani had the courage to tell Gen Zia to his face that the future historian would not forgive him. Mr Osmani was also at the forefront of a major journalistic movement, he added.
Mr Chhapra’s piece of advice for young journalists was: “Always write the truth, because truth floats and lies drown” (sach tairta hai, jhoot gharq hota hai).
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2015