Many of you might not even have heard Aslam Azhar’s name, but he was the one who made Pakistan television what it is today. It was he whom Nippon (the Japanese company that product television to Pakistan) contacted in 1964.
The 83 years old Azhar, who passed away in Islamabad today, is known as the father of PTV. He leaves behind a wife, Nasreen Jan, and two sons. One of his sons is a well known singer, Arieb Azhar. Azhar was the man behind the theatre group Dastak and earlier the Karachi Arts Theatre (known as KATs).
An editorial in Dawn best explains Azhar as it states,
"Aslam Azhar went to Cambridge to study law, jurisprudence for his Bachelor Honors, equivalent of an MA degree in 1954. He returned to join the Burmah Oil Company. Two years with the company and posted in Chittagong, one day it dawned upon him: “Parhein faarsi, aur bechein tel?” (Study Persian, and sell oil?). He resigned in 1960 and came to Karachi, and worked as freelance, making documentaries for the Department of Films and Publications."
As the news of Azhar’s demise spread on media, condolences started coming in from all corners. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Information Minister Pervez Rashid, and the Managing Director of PTV Mohammed Malick were the first few to offer their condolences. Many people took to Twitter to remember the intelligent creative person that was Aslam Azhar.
Commiserations also poured in from across the border.
Laal band, a band known for their anthems during the judge’s movement under General Pervez Musharraf’s rule, also offered salute to the parted soul through Facebook.
“Laal salam to comrade Aslam Azhar who passed away a few hours ago in Islamabad. Comrade Aslam Azhar was the founding father of PTV, a pioneering street theatre activist who ran Dastak in Karachi along with his close friend and comrade Mansoor Saeed in the 1980s, who passed away a few years ago. It was through the street theatre group Dastak that Aslam Azhar's son the singer Arieb Azhar and Mansoor Saeed's daughter Sania Saeed began their activism and cultural training as children.”