LAHORE, Dec 25: Eminent broadcaster, poet and former director general of Radio Pakistan Saleem Gillani died of a heart attack here on Thursday. He was 80.
He was born on May 16, 1928, in Gurdaspur, India. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of partition.
He did his masters in English from the Government College, Lahore. He worked with Maulana Zafar Ali Khan in Zamindar newspaper and joined Radio Pakistan as its news editor in 1952.
He also remained associated with the Voice of America Urdu Service for three years. He had great contribution in the field of music for he introduced singers like Mehdi Hasan and Reshman to the world of music.
For his services in the field of music he was awarded with Hilal-i-Imtiaz. He wrote a collection of Naat under the name of ‘Syedena’.
His verses were sung by a number of prominent singers such as Mehnaz, Arifa Siddiqui, Farida Khanum and Ustad Nazar Hussian.
He served Radio Pakistan in different capacities for around 40 years and introduced innovative ways of broadcasting, including the hourly news bulletin.
He founded a mini garden at Lahore Radio building under the name of ‘Yad Bagh’ in 1976. Most of the plants in the garden were planted by literary and performing art icons such as Nur Jahan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Fareeda Khanum, Mohni Hameed and Akhlaq Ahmed Dehlvi.
He is survived by a widow and four children. His funeral prayers were offered at Jamia Ashrafiya. He was laid to rest at Ichhra graveyard.