LAHORE, March 24: Noted singer Muhammad Iqbal Bahu died of a cardiac arrest here on Saturday. He was 68.

According to the family, Bahu suffered heart attack on Friday night and was taken to the Services Hospital where he initially got stable and was discharged. He however suffered the second attack and died on way to hospital.

Iqbal Bahu mastered the Sufi tradition of well-known saint Sultan Bahu. He sang many Sufiana songs for the Radio Pakistan and the Pakistan Television and was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz in 2008.

Bahu was born in Gurdaspur, India in I944. His family migrated to Pakistan after partition. He joined the National Bank of Pakistan in 1971 and worked there until 1997. He started his singing career in 1964 from Radio Pakistan, Lahore. He was introduced to Radio by Muhammad Azam Khan, former chief controller Radio Pakistan, Lahore.

Azam Khan told Dawn, “I took the first audition of Bahu in 1964 and he sang a ghazal by Nasir Kazmi.” Later, he appeared in PTV programmes, acting and singing in drama serial ‘Waris’.

He developed taste for Sufiana kalaam and won plaudits the world over for lending voice to the kalaam of Hazrat Sultan Bahu. He also won admirers by singing Heer.

TV actor Shujaat Hashmi, who played Mauladad in Waris, told this reporter that playwright Amjad Islam Amjad created a small role for Bahu. He said Bahu was an accomplished singer and was a humane and gentle person.

Faizan Peerzada of the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop recalled “Bahu had a peculiar style of singing and he was matchless in this skill. Bahu participated in almost all Sufi Music and World Performing Arts festivals.”

He said Bahu was scheduled to perform at a festival in April.

Bahu came from India just three days ago after performing in Lucknow. His last programme in Pakistan was at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture in January last.

His son, Muhammad Nadeem Iqbal Bahu told Dawn that his father was an asset to the family. He is survived by a widow, two sons and three daughters.

A large number of people attended his funeral at Iqbal Town’s Dubai Chowk mosque. He was laid to rest at Miani Sahib graveyard. Qul will be held in a Sutlej Block park at 2pm on Sunday (today).

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