A.B.S Jafri passes away

November 18, 2003


KARACHI, Nov 17: Senior journalist A.B.S. Jafri, a prolific writer and commentator who authored at least 10 books, died after a short illness on Monday morning. He was 76.

He will be buried in the DHA graveyard in Phase IV on Tuesday after Zuhar prayers. His Namaz-i-Janaza will be offered at Sultan Masjid, Khayaban-i-Bahria, DHA.

Mr Jafri was born in Badayun in 1927. He graduated from Bareilly College which was affiliated with the Agra University. His father Syed Shahid Ali, a hakim and poet, moved to Larkana with his family following the partition of the Subcontinent.

Mr Jafri is survived by wife Roquyya Jafri, a former Awami League MNA, daughter Farah Jafri, and four brothers Anwar bin Shahid Jafri, Azhar bin Shahid Jafri, Athar bin Shahid Jafri and Asghar Jafri.

Mr Jafri began his journalistic career in June 1947, as a reporter for the Orient Press of India news agency in New Delhi. He came to Karachi in August on a brief assignment to cover the inauguration of Pakistan. As it turned out, there was no going back. However, two years later he was back in New Delhi, this time as a foreign correspondent representing the Associated Press of Pakistan. The stint made Mr Jafri the first Pakistani newsmen to become a foreign correspondent. Before joining the Associated Press of Pakistan, Mr Jafri worked for some time at The Evening Times of Z.A. Suleri.

In 1958, Mr Jafri joined The Pakistan Times, Lahore, as assistant editor. He worked at the newspaper for over 20 years and rose to be its resident editor in Rawalpindi.

Mr Jafri went into exile during the Zia dictatorship. After some time, he accepted an offer to be the managing editor of The Kuwait Times. His association with the paper lasted over 10 years.

Mr Jafri returned to Pakistan following the death of Ziaul Haq in an air crash in 1988 and he edited The Muslim, Islamabad, for over two years as well as, briefly, The Pakistan Observer.

As a freelance writer, Mr Jafri wrote regular columns for Dawn and The Nation. He also wrote political commentaries for Radio Pakistan. He authored 10 books which included From the gallery (a collection of his columns in The Pakistan Times on parliamentary proceedings), On the Marco Polo route, Here lies India, The Founder, The witch-doctor: Pakistan between Aug 6, 1990 and July 15, 1993, Behind the killing fields of Karachi: a city refuses to surrender, Snapshots of fame 1996, Jinnah betrayed and The political parties of Pakistan.

His latest book titled Diary of a wicked war contains his views on the Anglo-American attack on Iraq without UN approval.

A.B.S., as he was known to friends and colleagues, was a cultured, sensitive soul, with a passion for Ghalib, and was a connoisseur of literature, art and music. He was fastidious in both his dress and his writings, and felt deeply about issues that went against his democratic and populist instincts.