Tahir Mirza passes away

Published May 30, 2007

KARACHI, May 29: Tahir Mirza, the former editor of Dawn, died peacefully in his sleep at the Aga Khan University Hospital here on Tuesday afternoon.

Diagnosed with cancer a year ago, he was hospitalised for treatment of complications resulting from the fatal disease since April 22. He leaves behind his wife, a son, a daughter and four grandchildren. He was 70.

The veteran journalist and columnist breathed his last at 2pm on Tuesday. His body is being taken to Lahore for burial, with the funeral planned to be held there on Wednesday after Asr prayers. He will be laid to rest at the Model Town G Block graveyard next to his late parents.

Born in Nov 1936 into a learned Delhi family, Tahir Mirza rose to make a long and distinguished career in journalism. He joined Dawn in 1994 as the resident editor in Lahore at a time when the paper's Lahore edition had just been launched.

Six years after consolidating the paper's position in Lahore, he went on to serve as Dawn's correspondent in Washington. Returning in 2003, Tahir Mirza succeeded the late Mr Ahmad Ali Khan as the Editor of Dawn. He sought retirement in 2006, but continued to contribute a weekly column as Contributing Editor.

A graduate of Lucknow University, Tahir Mirza spent his formative years in journalism as a reporter with PPI and Morning News in Dhaka before he moved to Lahore in early 1960s to join his family there and the writing team at the Civil and Military Gazette. Following the closure of the C&MG in 1963, he moved over to The Pakistan Times to become a member of the leader writers’ team.

In 1975, Mr Mirza helped Mazhar Ali Khan, another veteran journalist and a former Dawn editor, launch Viewpoint, a weekly magazine with left leanings. The weekly won high acclaim for its editorial excellence and professional commitment during the last years of Z.A. Bhutto’s rule, followed by the oppressive regime of General Ziaul Haq.

After the imposition of martial law, Mr Mirza left for London to join the BBC as a broadcaster. Later, he worked with Khaleej Times in Dubai before finally joining Dawn in 1994.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the Karachi Union of Journalists eulogised Mr Mirza’s services to journalism and empathised with the bereaved family. A condolence meeting of the KUJ, Dawn unit, will be held on Thursday at 4pm.

The Dawn’s CBA union expressed grief over the death of Mr Mirza. In a statement the union lauded the services of the former editor.

Our Washington correspondent adds: A condolence meeting and Quran Khwani will be held at 6814 Grica Avenue, Alexandria, VA, 22310, on Saturday afternoon.

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