— Photo by Shameen Khan/Dawn.com

LAHORE, March 19: Prominent poet Khalid Ahmad, who had passed away here in the early hours of Tuesday, was laid to rest later in the day. He was 70 and was diagnosed with lung cancer some four months ago.

Ahmad, born in 1943 in Lucknow, belonged to an illustrious family of writers, poets and journalists. He was the youngest brother of the late well-known fiction writers Khadija Mastoor and Hajira Masroor and of journalist Tauseef Ahmed Khan. He was a brother-in-law of the late Ahmad Ali Khan, editor Dawn, and the late Zaheer Babar, a former editor of Imroze.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Khalid Ahmad did his matriculation from the Muslim Model High School, Lahore, and BSC from Dayal Singh College. He did his Masters in Physics from the Government College, Lahore. He joined Wapda as an information officer in 1979 and retired from the department as deputy director around a decade ago.

Awarded the Pride of Performance for his contribution to Pakistani literature in March 2011, he had five poetry collections to his credit. These included ‘Tashbeeb’ (a collection of naats), ‘Hathailoon Pay Charagh’, ‘Pehli Sada Parinday Ki’, ‘Daraz Palkoon Kay Saie Saie’ and ‘Namgirifta’, which was launched only recently.

He drew inspiration from Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, who was a close friend, in fact guardian of his family when they arrived in Lahore during partition. He was a respected and prolific poet, the creator of such famous lines as: ‘Tark-i-taaluqat pay roya na tu na mein, Lekin ye kya kay chain say soya na tu na mein’.

Khalid Ahmad edited a literary magazine, ‘Beaz’ and was a well-known columnist. He first wrote columns for Imroze, and later for daily Jang and The Muslim. For the last six years, he was writing a regular column for Nawa-i-Waqat. He also wrote plays and songs for both radio and television and was a regular at literary meetings in the city.

In recent times, before illness limited his movement, he would spend much of his time at the Alhamra Adabi Baithak on The Mall.

Writers and poets, many of them his close friends, have expressed deep sorrow and grief on the demise of Khalid Ahmed.

Poet Abbas Tabish said Khalid Ahmad had trained at least three generations of poets. “He was a progressive and had his own unique place as a poet,” Tabish said.

Amjad Islam Amjad said in Khalid Ahmad’s passing, he had lost a life-long companion. “He was a poet of substance and a man with commitment,” he said.

Ataul Haq Qasmi remembered Ahmad as a dedicated and serious poet.

Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) Chairman Abdul Hameed, director-general Zaheeruddin Malik and Lahore director Altaf Husain Qureshi, in their message, termed Ahmad a poet of new vistas and of new concepts. Khaled Ahmad’s funeral was attended by a large number of people from the literary circles, including Amjad Islam Amjad, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Dr Ajmal Niazi, Altaf Husain Qureshi, Khwaja Zikriya, Sajjad Mir, Khurshid Rizvi, editor Nawa-i-Waqat Majeed Nizami, Saud Usman, Shaukat Ali Shah, Salim Tahir, Zargham and Professor Aqeel Ruby.

His qul will be held on Wednesday between Asr and Maghrib prayers at his residence 500 J-2, Johar Town.

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