KARACHI, Feb 1: Senior journalist and the city's leading crime reporter Ghulam Ali Khoja died on Tuesday night after protracted illness. He was 65.
His funeral prayers will be held at Bara Imambargah, near the Khoja Masjid in Kharadar, after Zuhar prayer on Wednesday and he will be buried in the Hussaini Bagh No. 2, Mewashah Graveyard.
Born in a small town of Nindo Shaher of Badin district, Ghulam Ali Khoja was a self-made man. His parents shifted to Karachi when he was a child and settled in Kharadar where he lived till his death.
His father died when he was quite young. Coming from a poor background, he began his practical life doing odd jobs, including selling ice candies, working in restaurants and eventually getting employed at the Mercantile Commercial Bank as a peon, where he began learning Urdu and English.
He soon became a voracious reader which helped him get the job of a salesman in a bookshop in Saddar. At the bookshop, he met Ahsanullah, a senior journalist associated with the Morning News, a leading newspaper at that time.
Impressed by his passion for reading, Ahsanullah got Ghulam Ali employed in the newspaper as a copy holder in the early 60s. After some time he was promoted and made a proof reader.
Because of his extensive reading and knowledge the S.R. Ghori, then editor of the paper, made him a reporter. Ghulam Ali was first assigned the film beat and he excelled in no time.
After some time, because of his journalistic abilities he was transferred to serious journalism and assigned to cover one of the most important beats of journalism, crime reporting. And Ghulam Ali made his mark as an outstanding reporter.
He joined Dawn in early 80s as a crime reporter and retired in 1998. He was re-employed by Dawn. When his health deteriorated in 2003 - he was diabetic and also suffered from Parkinson's disease - he stopped coming to office.
Ghulam Ali was respected as a man of integrity who never succumbed to "incentives" which are usually offered to journalists in general and crime reporters in particular.