Iconic artist, orator Zia Mohyeddin passes away at 91 in Karachi

Published February 13, 2023
Zia Mohyeddin performs at NAPA. — File photo
Zia Mohyeddin performs at NAPA. — File photo

Internationally renowned artist and President Emeritus of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), Zia Mohyeddin, passed away in Karachi early Monday morning. He was 91.

According to his family, Mohyeddin was ill and on life support at a hospital in the city. He breathed his last at 6:30am today.

Mohyeddin’s funeral prayers will be offered after Zuhr at Imambargah Yasrab in Karachi’s Defence Phase IV.

Born on June 20, 1931, Mohyeddin is considered a legend when it comes to broadcasting, poetry and prose recitation, acting and theatre direction. Once the spearhead and later the president of Napa in Karachi, he mentored hundreds of students now working in TV production.

He appeared on both Pakistani cinema and television as well as on British cinema and television throughout his career. Mohyeddin was also the first Pakistani ever to work in Hollywood.

Some of his most memorable performances include the Lawrence of Arabia with director David Lean, followed by Behold the Pale Horse in 1964 with director Fred Zinnemann, and later Immaculate Conception in 1992 with director Jamil Dehlavi.

Mohyeddin was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian honour in the country, in 2012 for his contribution to the field of art.

He has also authored three books namely A Carrot is a Carrot, Theatrics and The God of My Idolatry Memories and Reflections.

Condolences

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief at the news and extended condolences to the grieving family.

In a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the premier said that Mohyeddin’s art was “one of its kind” and his unique style was admired not just in Pakistan but across the world.

“It is sad that a person with many beautiful qualities has left society. Zia Mohyeddin’s voice will keep resonating in our hearts and minds,” he said.

PM Shehbaz paid homage to the renowned artist and prayed for his high ranks.

President Dr Arif Alvi said Mohyeddin’s death was a “personal loss” to him.

“He was a giant in the arts, an actor, producer, director and above all an excellent reciter of prose and poetry accompanied by music typically prompting with a pause,” he tweeted.

“May Allah give strength to the world of arts, Azra his wife, family and children to bear this loss,” Alvi added.

Former prime minister Imran Khan said Mohyeddin was a highly cultured person and an institution in the world of entertainment.

“He will be missed. My condolences and prayers go to his family,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Rekhta Foundation — an archive of Urdu poetry and literature — said that the news of Mohyeddin’s death came as a “huge shock leaving a void that cannot be filled”.

“He was a fantastic actor, host, producer, and voice-over artist. May his soul rest in peace,” it tweeted.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said Mohyeddin was a “true renaissance man for his mastery and connoisseurship on a range of cultural trends that made him inimitable”.

“Most of all, his hypnotic voice took many generations from radio to tv. May he rest in peace,” she tweeted.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Mohyeddin’s literary work gained fame worldwide.

“The services of the deceased for the showbiz industry will always be remembered,” she said and prayed for the bereaved family.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that Zia Mohyeddin was an institution in the world of art, literature and knowledge. “His services will always be remembered,” he added.

Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori also extended his condolences, saying that the country had lost a great artist today.

On the other hand, PTI senator Faisal Javed said in a series of tweets that he had the chance to personally work with Mohyeddin in 2003. “He had a great command over the pronunciation of many languages. He was one of the most expensive voice over artists of Pakistan.”

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