KARACHI: Eminent actor Abid Ali passed away here on Thursday. He was 67.

He was admitted to a local hospital last Friday where he was being treated for ‘liver complications’.

Abid Ali was born in Quetta on March 29, 1952, where he acquired early education. Inclined towards performing arts and having an imposing voice, he joined Radio Pakistan Quetta for a brief period. From the Balochistan capital he shifted to Lahore to try his luck on television.

He will be remembered for his nuanced performance in classic TV plays like Waris & Jhok Siyal

In Lahore, he got an opportunity to work in the popular drama Jhok Siyal (1973) which earned him recognition. But it was his supremely nuanced performance in the iconic serial Waris (1978) that established him as a formidable actor. The rest, as they say, was history.

Abid Ali went on to work in a number of noteworthy plays such as Khwahish and Suraj Ke Sath Sath. He also ventured into production and direction with the play Dasht, which gained tremendous popularity. The TV plays that he produced or directed (Pinjra, Doosra Asman etc) were content-driven, often identifying the various social ills that Pakistani society is grappling with.

Abid Ali also acted in films and did some memorable roles. Two of the films were Insaniat Ke Dushman (1987) and Khaak Aur Khoon (1979); the latter was based on a Nasim Hijazi novel.

Abid Ali married twice. First he tied the knot with Humera Chaudhry with whom he had three daughters, one of whom is actress Iman Ali; and then with TV artiste Rabia Noreen.

Talking to Dawn, Rabia Noreen said, “He wasn’t just a husband to me. He was a friend and my shoulder to cry on (ghamgusaar). Above all, he was a gem of a person. I have never seen in my life such a dervish who kept meeting with a smile those who had hurt him. He was a book reader, and I had often seen him read Paulo Coelho’s books.”

The moment the news of Abid Ali’s death broke, messages started to pour in on social media. Actress Saba Qamar posted a message on her Twitter account, saying, “Today our industry lost a gem. Words can surely not express the loss of Abid Ali sir… He always brought so much light to everyone around him. Such a legend.”

Humayun Saeed wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about Abid Ali Sahib’s death. A legendary actor and a man with a heart of gold. May Allah bless him with jannat and give his family, fans and the industry the strength to bear this tremendous loss.”

It was not just members of the showbiz community who relayed their messages for the late actor; his death also sent a shockwave in the sporting community. Fast bowler Wahab Riaz said: “Deeply saddened to hear about the death of veteran actor Abid Ali Sahib. May his soul rest in peace.”

Umar Gul’s message was: “He was one of my all time favorite actors. Praying for his maghfirat.”

Abid Ali’s funeral will be held after Friday prayers at Masjid-i-Ayesha at Bahria Town, and he will be laid to rest in the Bahria Town graveyard.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2019