INGTON - Khalid Hasan, a veteran Pakistani journalist and acclaimed author of several books, died of cancer at a Northern Virginia hospital Thursday night. He was 74.
Khalid Hasan breathed his last at 10:15 pm. He had been undergoing several medical tests and procedures since Jan 19. His condition sharply deteriorated over the past three days.
His death is a big blow to the Pakistani journalism, which will not be the same without him. A fearless journalist, with decades of experience, Khalid was passionate about exposing government corruption and waste, especially on VIP trips, and he always gave voice to the underprivileged in his writings. His relentless battle on behalf of a Pakistani mission driver, who was summarily sacked in Geneva, is a case in point. Despite the fact he did not succeed in his efforts to get the driver reinstated, he felt greatly satisfied that he had backed a right cause.
A prolific writer, Khalid had the rare distinction of working for and contributing articles to almost all Pakistani newspapers, including The Nation. He was very particular about facts and crosschecked his information before filing his dispatches. And, of course, his English was excellent. He was at his best in political satire. Not only he wrote extensively, he was a voracious reader of books and magazines.
Besides, he was friend of friends - always trying to help them - and a wonderful human being.
Khalid breathed his last at a Northern Virginia hospital three weeks after he complained of bad cough and fever. He made some recovery and told me on Jan 10 in a hoarse voice that his health was improving. He even wrote his weekly column for Daily Times, the paper he represented in Washington, but then his health sharply deteriorated and he was admitted to the hospital on Jan 19. He had been undergoing several medical tests and procedures during which cancer in an advanced stage was discovered.
His fans here and several Pakistani journalists working in the United States received the news of his demise with a deep sense of shock and grief. Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani expressed his deep sorrow over the demise of Khalid Hasan and said his death was a massive loss for Pakistan.
Khalid has a long and varied career. After graduating from Murray College, Sialkot, he taught at Lawrence College, Murree, joined the Income Tax Service, worked for The Pakistan Times, served as the Press Secretary to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and carried out diplomatic assignments in London, Paris and Ottawa.
He will be best remembered for his English translations of the short stories of Saadat Hasan Manto and lyrics of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
His death will be mourned by his innumerable friends and admirers, among them senior journalists and writers of Pakistan and India. His correspondence with Qurat-ul-Ain Hyder appeared in book form.
Khalid Hasan was born in Srinagar. His father, Dr Noor Hussain, who hailed from Jammu worked for the Jammu and Kashmir Ministry of Health. His older brothers Brig Bashir Ahmad and Colonel Saeed Ahmad, both deceased, served the Pakistan Army with distinction. His younger brother, Masud Hasan, also a columnist, runs a business in Lahore.
His sister Surayya was married to K H Khurshid who served Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as his private secretary, later became president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and finally died in a traffic accident.
In the late 1960s, Khalid Hasan travelled to Washington for the Congressional Fellowship sponsored by the American Political Science Association and married Juanita. The couple had a son, Jeffrey and a daughter, Jehan, both married and working in the United States. The family was with Hasan in hospital.
He will be buried in Vermont, the native state of his wife.
APP adds: The funeral prayer for Khalid Hasan will be offered in Woodbridge, Virginia today (Saturday).
The funeral prayer will be offered at 1:30 pm at Aden Muslim Funeral Services, 1242 Easy Street, Woodbrdige, VA. 22191.