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terrorism

World in focus

Terrorism looms large!

 

By Khalid Khan

The year 2004 has witnessed widespread terrorism around the globe that killed significant proportion of civilian population and law enforcing personal alike. Meanwhile, hunt for terrorist networks also continued with zeal and pledges that led to the arrests, elimination and busting of terror-gangs. A number of accords were signed among the nations and legislation observed momentum to nail and nab potential terror sponsoring entities and organs that inflicted huge losses on civilised world and added to fears and phobias.

Spain recorded the worst ever-terrorist rampage when a series of explosions ripped through four commuter trains in rush hours that killed 190 people and injured 1,247,on March 11, 2004. The Madrid slaughter sent shock waves throughout the world while recalling the deadliest attack of 9/11 on trade towers that altered the geo-political map of modern world. According to Reuters a statement attribute to Al Qaeda that was sent to a London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabia claimed the responsibility for the bombings in Madrid and a suicide attack in Istanbul two days earlier to the Madrid tragedy. Near the scene of bombing, a tape in Arabic language and seven detonators were found in an abandoned van that further confirms Al Qaeda's involvement in the incident, said Spain's interior minister Angel Acebes as quoted by the agency. However, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar blamed the Basque separatist group ETA for the terror attacks that has been daubed as Europe's 9/11 by media.

Moscow also suffered heavily and remained a focal point of terrorist attacks in the concluded calendar year of 2004. A heavily armed gang seized up to 400 hostages at a Russian school near Chechnya on the first day of September. School siege ended in carnage when more than 300 people - most of them children, were killed and hundreds wounded when the special forces personnel attempted to liberate the hostages from the militants that kept them in ordeal for as long as 53 hours. Russia blamed Chechens while Chechen separatist spokesman Akhmed Zakayev denied the allegation adding that the hostage-takers were Ingush, Ossetians and Russians.

A week earlier, hijacking and blowing up of two passenger jetliners was another major terrorist offence that jolted Russia. The incidents killed as many as 94 people. A day before school rocking, a female suicide bomber blew herself up in a central Moscow in an attack that killed 10 and injured 50. In a surprise move, Russia also called for a UN Security Council meeting on "terror acts" in the county.

Riyadh also directly felt the brunt of terror when US consulate in Jeddah was stormed in December killing 12 people. Later on, security forces regained the control. This was the first ever assault against a Western diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia.

Egypt also tasted first terrorist strike in seven years when three car bombs exploded, killing 34 people ruthlessly. One explosion hit Taba Hilton just south of the Egypt-Israel border and two at a town of beach bungalows, Ras Shitan, 35 miles to the south on the Red Sea coast. Israel blamed Al Qaeda for the attacks.

Australia's embassy in Jakarta was also targeted in September, which killed nine people, including a suicide bomber while injuring another over 160 people. Al-Qaeda was blamed for the high profile attack.

The August rally of Bangladesh's leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid was attacked with a series of lethal hand grenades that killed 19 people and injured more than 300. Hasina Wajid took to the task Islamic hard liner coalition and charged it for turning Bangladesh into a terrorist state.

At home front terrorist remained busy through out 2004. The terrorists attacked the incumbent Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz during his one of by-election public meetings in Fateh Jang. Eight persons, including the driver and gunman of Shaukat Aziz died and several injured. Al-Qaeda operatives claimed the responsibility and law enforcing agencies picked up 12 persons for investigations.

In different parts of Punjab 70 people died and 134 others injured in various terrorists act. Investigators rounded up 46 suspected terrorists out of which 7 suspected terrorists were of foreign origins. Two terrorists died in suicide bombing while one was killed in police custody. Two police corps also lost lives in terrorists attacks. In one terrorist attack Jamia Masjid Kashmirian Mochi gate Lahore was targeted and the suicide bomber killed 4 people and injured another 10. In another incident in Rawalpindi, a suicide bomber while blowing himself up wounded another 4 worshipers.

Army called up when violence erupted in Sialkot following a deadly terrorist attack on a mosque in which 25 people killed while over 50 others injured. Former deputy speaker Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly was also included among the victims who came to offer Friday special prayer. But the massive car bomb blast that killed 39 and injured over 70 at Multan jolted the Punjab administration adversely. A powerful car bomb exploded near a place where people gathered to commemorate the first death of Maulana Azam Tariq.

The province of Baluchistan turned a high-risk zone for law-enforcing agencies where men in uniform remained the main target of terrorist alongside civilian population. Terrorists targeted government installations and buildings that exposed another face of terrorism in Pakistan's history.

In sporadic incidents of terrorism 31 people died while another 50 person sustained injuries. Among the dead was also 14 security personal that included 7 Army men, 4 Frontier constabulary personal and 3 police corps. A terrorist attack also killed 3 Chinese engineers in a mine blast. Naib Nazim Kohlu district, Chengaz Marri was also killed. The government installations and building that came under rocket attacks include FC check point Dera Bugti, Mirani dam site, FC headquarters, Sui airport buildings and FC team check point, Mund tehsil, Kechi district. Sui Township, Somiani costal town and Kohlu Township also came under rocket attacks. In Khuzdar 5 army men were killed while 4 FC personal were murdered near Sui. Eight bomb blasts also rock Quetta.

Terrorism also over shadowed Islamabad where an explosion occurred at Marriot hotel injuring 7 people including an American diplomat. Authorities insisted on short-circuiting as the major cause for the incident whereas Abdullah Mehsud claimed responsibility, saying " now we will spread out and carry out similar attacks wherever possible." It is said that at the time of explosion, US and Japanese defense and intelligence officials were staying in the hotel.

NWFP comparatively remained peaceful, except a few exceptions. A bomb blast occurred in a Mingora cinema and a bank robbery was committed by a terrorist network.



Need for more initiatives for human rights education

 

By Muhammad Badar Alam

When the world celebrated 56th anniversary of the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 2004, it was not just another day in the United Nations calendar. More than severing merely as a meek reminder of what the member states of the United Nations had pledged in 1948, it served to highlight that the goal of attaining human rights worldwide remains an ideal, eluding to become a reality despite strong pledges by the state and non-state actors through the signing of various international instruments, laws and conventions in this regard.

There has been of late some realisation that the worrying state of human rights persists because of a lack of education about them. This is something that has caught the eye of the people and organisations that have been on the forefront of human rights movement. United Nations, for example, has marked outgoing ten years (1995-2004) as the decade for human rights education. In the similar vein, this year's human rights was also dedicated to the same subject.

But before these efforts materialise into concrete awareness about human rights, their acceptance and inculcation in social ethos across the world and consequently into their universal respect, the need for annual stock taking will continue to be felt.

Amnesty International, one of the leading international upholders of human rights, sums up the situation very eloquently in its 2004 report. "Around the world, more than a billion people's lives were ruined by extreme poverty and social injustice while governments continued to spend freely on arms." No other single sentence can improve on the Amnesty's verdict when it comes to diagnosing what ails the world in terms of human rights.

In Pakistan, the social injustices that Amnesty has referred to have remained hard to beat, though a number of government-sponsored initiatives, apparently to counter them, took off during 2004. The government, towards the end of the year announced the setting up of a National Human Rights Commission; much to applauds of local and international community concerned with the sorry state of civil and political liberties in Pakistan. But the organisation is yet to gather fresh around its freshly born skeleton: Its structure and scope still remain undefined.

Observers local and foreign have continued to view the situation with alarm. When on December 26, 2004, a Washington-based civil society organisation, Freedom House, presented a damning report about the state of political rights and civil liberties in Pakistan, their findings were hardly revealing. The report lists Pakistan in the category of 'Not Free' countries in its list of 192 nations surveyed. It gives the country only five on a scale of one-ten (with one standing for the most free) for civil liberties and even dismal six on the same scale for political rights. Even Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir received a better rating: Five for both political rights and civil liberties. The report has also not included Pakistan in the list of 117 "electoral democracies" in which besides India and Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nigeria, Belize, Benin and even Albania and Kiribati have been named. The organisation, while collecting and analysing data, has included entries as fresh as November 30, 2004.

This is a huge step backward given that in 1994 and 1995, Pakistan was listed as a 'partly free' country with a rating of three for political rights and five for civil liberties.

If the Freedom House report is read along with Amnesty's report, cited earlier, the state of human rights in 2004 offer a dismal reading. The Amnesty report that documents the human rights situation in 155 countries and territories, covers subjects as varied as 'violence against women, economic, social and cultural rights, and justice for refugees and migrants'. But the single most factor that according the authors of the report contributed to the deteriorating human rights situation is the US-led war on terrorism. 'International human rights standards continued to be flouted in the name of the 'war on terror', resulting in thousands of women and men suffering unlawful detention, unfair trial and torture - often solely because of their ethnic or religious background,' says Amnesty.

But the organisation is not the lone voice of sanity in the increasingly deafening cacophony of voices seeking to "smoke out terrorist out of their holes". Organisation for Security and Cooperation Europe, which brings all the major European nations together as members, has expressed similar concerns. "'War on terrorism' (is) being used in some countries as an excuse to suppress legitimate expressions of dissent and limit precious freedoms, in particular freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly," says Christian Strohal, OSCE's human rights chief in his address at a conference in London on the occasion of International Human Rights Day.

"Human rights are grossly violated throughout the world because of poverty, conflicts, terrorism, violence, prejudice and bad governance," says a message by UN's acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, on last year's human rights day. Sadly his observation holds a full one year after he made it and may hold for the foreseeable future unless somebody does something about it. Amnesty may be doing just that when it suggests that "in a dangerous and divided world, it is more important than ever that the global human rights movement remains strong, relevant and vibrant".



Metropolis under terror

 

By A H Khanzada

The fourth year of the new millennium has just come to an end, leaving memories of killings, blasts and terrorism, etched on the minds of the people, who passed their lives in this port-city of Pakistan. A chain of blasts and explosions occurred during the year, which proved that all claims of peace and tranquility in the city were baseless.

Blast in front of Avari Towers

Just at the outset of new year, terrorists exploded a bomb at the Fatima Jinnah Rd in front of Pakistan Bible Society and Avari Towers Hotel on Jan 15, causing injuries to over a dozen people including TPO, Clifton.

PPP-MPA's murder

Abdullah Murad Baloch, a Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Sindh from the opposition benches and his driver were gunned down on March 06, 2004. The deceased MPA had played a very active role in the Gaddap tragedy, in which two minor girls were murdered brutally.

Another attempt at US Consulate

On March 15, an explosive-laden vehicle was found abandoned in front of US Consulate and taken into custody, along with a huge quantity of highly inflammable liquid, after discharging detonators fixed properly.

Attack on Ranger's vehicle

Unidentified gunmen attacked on a rangers' vehicle near Baloch Colony bridge, killing two persons including a ranger-man and injuring five including two ranger-men and three others.

Bomb blast in front of Golf Club

On April 10, a bomb exploded in a car in Defence Phase VIII, killing a youth and injuring over eight people including a few women, who had come to see the musical concert of famous Indian singer Sonu Nigam, at the Golf Club. The bomb exploded at a distance of two km from the musical show, where Sonu Nigam was about to start his show.

Police inspector's murder

Toufeeque Ahmed Khan Zahid, a Police Inspector (PI), was gunned down and four worshipers received bullet injuries when unidentified assassins fired upon him after entering a mosque, where they were sitting to offer Jumma Prayers in Federal B Area, on April 23, 2004. During the operation against Muttahida workers, commonly known as 'Karachi Operation', Toufeeque Zahid had played a very active role.

Blast in Hyderi mosque

It was Friday (May) when a suicide bomber exploded himself within the Hyderi mosque killing over two dozens worshipers and injuring more than 200 within the premises of historic Sindh Madarsa-tul-Islam, the school of Father of Nation the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, while worshipers were lining up for the Jumma prayers.

Killing in by-elections

At least nine political workers were gunned down and over two-dozen political activists sustained injuries when violence erupted on May 12 by-elections in Saeedabad, Baldia Town, Liaquatabad, Shareefabad, Gulberg, Malir, Jafar-e-Tayyar Society and a few other localities.

Blast in front of KPT gate

On May 25, a bomb exploded near Gate No 17 of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), injuring four persons. Later, one injured Fatah Muhammad succumbed to his injuries.

Blast in front of PACC

On May 26, a policeman lost his life and 32 persons, including newsmen, police officials and cops sustained injuries when another explosive device planted in a vehicle exploded, while police and newsmen had been performing their duties after a bomb blast in the parking vicinity of Pakistan American Culture Centre (PACC) at the Fatima Jinnah Road.

Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai's assassination

Despite the special instruction of strict security on May 30, unidentified terrorists attacked renowned religious scholar and Shaikh-ul-Hadees of Jamia-e-Binoria, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamizai, killing him on the spot and injuring his son, a nephew and driver seriously in front of Jamia-Binoria in Jamshaid Quarters police precinct. Following the murder violence sparked in various city localities and at least six persons including police and Rangers cops received injuries, while over a dozen were injured by stones and hard and blunt objects.

Blast in Imambargah

Very next day of assassination of Mufti Shamzai, a powerful bomb exploded during the Maghrabain prayer in the Imam Bargah-e-Ali Raza at main MA Jinnah Rd in Brigade police area, killing at least 16 worshipers on the spot and injuring over 40.

Attack on the Corps Commander's Motorcade

After a series of terrorist acts in the city, the police chalked out a security plan on June 6, initially in the two towns, Clifton and Sadar and divided the same into 12 security zones.

Within the newly-established security zone, on the morning of June 10, over a dozen terrorists wearing police uniforms ambushed the motorcade of Corps Commander Lt Ge Ahsan Saleem Hyat (now the Deputy Army Chief), killing 11 people including seven army soldiers, three policemen and a sanitary worker and injuring 12 others near Clifton Bridge. The Corps Commander, escaped unhur

Munawwar Suharwardi's murder

Munawwar Hussain Suharwardi, the information secretary of PPP, Sindh, the closest aide of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and spokesman of Bilawal House was shot dead near Gurumandir roundabout on June 17.

Blast at Jamia-e-Rasheedia's vehicle

An electrician of Jamia Rasheedia, a seminary, was killed and eight other sustained wounds when a remote controlled bomb exploded near Khanqah-e-Hazrat Shafa`at Naqshbandi, in Ehsanabad locality of Gulshan-e-Maymaar on July 24.

Twin blast in front of Jamia-e-Binoria

At least nine persons were killed and over 50 suffered serious injuries when two bombs exploded in front of Binoria Bakers, adjacent Jamia-e-Binoria SITE within the span of 15 minutes on August 8.

Murder of Mufti Jamil and Moulana Nazeer

When Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's arrival was due in the metropolis and security was tightened up extensively, unidentified terrorists attacked a vehicle and fled while killing Mufti Jamil Ahmed Khan, the Nazim of Aalmi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabwwat and Moulana Nazeer Ahmed Taunsvi, chief of its Karachi chapter, both dignified religious scholars in October, 2004.

Those who left us during 2004

One who lives must die. That is the one undisputed truth of life. Those who made a difference in other's lives will always be remembered. In this article we are paying tribute to some of those personalities who although left this mortal world during 2004, but they will remain with us even after their death in the form of their work they accomplished during their lifetime.

 

Compiled by Tayyaba Jabbar

and Sukaina Mohsin Ali

 

HMS Choudri

Pakistan's first C-in-C, PN

Vice-Admiral Haji Muhammad Siddique Choudri departed to his eternal abode during the year just passed by. Admiral Choudri had the distinction of being not only the first Pakistani to command the Pakistan Navy, but also in fact the first Indian to be commissioned (in 1932) into the executive branch of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN). At the time of partition, Choudri Sahib happened to be the senior-most Indian officer and was involved in the division of the RIN's assets between India and Pakistan. After independence, his early years with the Pakistan Navy were spent in service abroad or at sea and it was only in the '50s that he was assigned command of the Royal Pakistan Navy.

 

Askari Mian Irani, Painter

Painter, Askari Mian Irani, after a brief illness passed away on January 10. Askari was a trendsetter. He rose in stature as a painter in the mid 1980s. His paintings with their Arabic script, geometric designs and prominent texture, became the most sought after objects in the local market.

 

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas Founder

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was assassinated in an Israeli air strike on 23rd of March. The killing of Yassin, the most prominent Palestinian targeted by Israel in 3-1/2 years of fighting, threatened to deepen the conflict, with militants pledging unprecedented retaliation, including veiled threats against the United States. Yassin's killing virtually buried hopes of reviving the roadmap, which envisioned an end to violence and the creation of a Palestinian State by next year.

 

Dullah Omar

Human Rights lawyer

Lawyer Dullah Omar, one of South Africa's best known human rights lawyer during the apartheid era, died of cancer on March 13. Dullah Omar established legal practice in 1960 after failing to feud for a firm that would not employ a black lawyer- and defended those who suffered under apartheid. "A patriot has gone to rest forever", a government statement said.

 

Syed Abid Ali Shah,

Bureaucrat & Intellectual

Former Director General, Public Relations, Punjab and former Chief Executive, BCCI Foundation, passed away on January 11. He was 75. During his illustrious career, Abid Ali Shah had served as Chairman of the Central Board of Film Censor, Secretary General of Pakistan National Council of Arts, DGPR, Punjab, Wapda and Chief Executive of BCCI Foundation. Abid Ali Shah was the father of Sarmad Ali, Group Executive Director of Marketing, Jang Group of Newspapers.

 

Hamid Raza Gilani, Minister

Renowned parliamentarian and Chief of the Gilani family, died in the Pakistan Institute of cardiology, Lahore on 24th January. He was 67. His political career spanned over four decades and he made his marks in the political circles with his selfless work.

 

Suraiyya, Indian actress

Bollywood actress Suraiyya died at age 75. She was one of the most popular pin-up girls of India's film industry in the 1940s. She died in Bombay, on the 31st of January, after a brief illness. She debuted in 1946 as a supporting actress and went on to become the highest paid film star of her time in a short span of time.

 

Albeiro Usuriaga, Soccer player

Former Columbian soccer player, Albeiro Usuriaga was killed by an unidentified gunman on the 11th of February. Usuriaga, 37 played in the 1990 World Cup. His career took him to Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela and Spain.

 

Begum Qazi Essa

Pakistan Movement worker

Begum Qazi Essa, a renowned social worker and widow of the close companion of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and active worker of the Pakistan Movement Qazi Muhammad Essa, died in Karachi after prolonged ailment. She was 80. Begum Qazi Essa actively participated in the Pakistan movement. She had also served as the vice-president of the All Pakistan Women's Association (Apwa) Balochistan. This year, she was conferred with the Fatima Jinnah Award in recognition of her services to the cause of women.

 

Zelim Khan Yandurbiyev

Ex-Chechen President

Zelim Khan Yandurbiyev, was assassinated in an explosion on February 13. He was acting president in 1996-97 and had been linked to the Al-Qaida terror group.

 

Abdul Sattar Lalika Federal Minister

Federal Minister for Labour, Manpower, and Overseas Pakistanis and Chief whip of the ruling alliance in the N.A, Abdul Sattar Lalika, died of a heart attack on Feb 13 in Lahore. He was 51. He was elected several times to the N.A. and rendered valuable services in many different positions.

 

Prof Sarwar Zuberi, Gastroenterologist

Professor Sarwar Zuberi, country's eminent gastroenterologist died on 17th March. Dr. Zuberi died reportedly by contracting malaria through blood transfusion. Her death was termed a great loss to the nation.

 

Vijay Anand

Film maker

Veteran Indian Film maker and former Chief of the country's film censor board, Vijay Anand, was popularly known as Goldie Anand and was the younger brother of legendary Dev Anand (Actor-Director). The two produced a number of Bollywood hits such as 'Guide', 'Jewel Thief' and 'Johnny Mera Naam'. He was 72.

 

 

Estee Lauder

Cosmetic Queen

Estee Lauder left the world of glitz and glamour on the 24th of April, aged 97, due to cardiopulmonary failure. She was the founder and driving force behind the most successful beauty company in America. She was known as a dynamic leader in developing American business abroad.

 

Syed Mohammad Abbas, Film storywriter

Noted film story writer and director Syed Mohammad Abbas died in a private hospital in Mumbai on 16th April. He was 71. Among many films he wrote stories for are 'Parwarish'; 'Kahani Kismet Ki'; 'Kab Kyon Aur Kahan?'; 'Purnima'; 'Paras'; 'Fakir', etc. He also directed 'Hungama'; 'Sewak'; 'Shriman Satyawadi', etc. He wrote stories for more than hundred films.

 

Mufti Shamzai

Religious scholar

Renowned religious scholar, Mufti Shamzai was shot dead, near Jamia Binoria on Sunday 30th May. Religious scholar and Shaikh-ul-Hadees of Jamia Binoria, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai was killed when armed men ambushed their vehicle in front of Jamia Binoria.

 

Irfan Siddiqui, Journalist

Famous poet, journalist and chief editor of Urdu daily Sahafat, Irfan Siddiqui passed away in Lucknow on 15th April. He was 65 and affected by brain tumour. A prominent poet of Urdu, several of Siddiqui's poetic collections include 'Canvas', 'Shab Darmiyan', 'Saat Samawat', 'Hawain', 'Dasht Maria' and 'Ishq Nama'.

 

Frances Shand Kydd

Frances Shand Kydd (Mother of late Princess Diana) died on after a long illness, on the 3rd of June. She was 68. She lived on an island in Scotland and had been estranged from Diana at the time of her death in 1997, and had not spoken to her for months.

 

Ramona Trinidad Iglesias-Jordan

Oldest lady

Formerly the world's oldest person, Ramona Iglesias died on the 29th of May in Puerto Rico, after a bout of pneumonia. Born on 31st of August, 1889, she was 114 at the time of her death.

 

Dr Suraiya Nisar, Gynecologist

Unidentified gunman shot dead renowned Gynecologist Dr Suraiya Nisar in Dera Ghazi Khan, on 6th of June.

 

Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi, Buddhist monk

Sri Lanka's most influential Buddhist monk died, aged 87 in the central town of Kandy, onJune 7th, after a brief illness. Govt. and opposition leaders both held him in high respect and often consulted Monk Rambukwelle Sri Vipassi, who was head of the Malwatte Chapter of Buddhism.

 

Zameer Niazi, Journalist

Veteran journalist Zameer Niazi passed away after a protracted illness at the age of 72. He had strived hard for freedom of speech and wrote a number of books on this subject.

 

Kang Chang Ryol, Ambassador

Kang Chang Ryol, North Korean ambassador to Bangladesh, died of cardiac failure, on the 15th of June. He was 67. He was a skilled diplomat committed to promoting good relations between the two countries.

 

Ray Charles, Singer and pianist

Grammy award winning crooner, Ray Charles died on the 10th of June, at the age of 73. Famous for blending the gospel and blues, he was a cultural icon, singer and pianist. Blind by the age of 7, orphan by 15 he spent his life shattering any notion of musical boundaries and defying easy definition.

 

Munawwar Suharwardi, Politician

Munawwar Suharwardi, a close aide of former PM and PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto and spokesman of the Bilawal House, was gunned down near Gurumandir on 17th of June. He was the Information Secretary of the PPP, Sindh and declined offers to become a senator.

 

Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti

Religious scholar

Renowned scholar, leader of the International Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Movement and former MPA Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti died on the 27th of June. He was 80. He played a key role in the Terik-e-Nizam-e-Mustafa, against the Bhutto government. He founded the Khatm-e-nabowat movement, meant to curb anti-Islamic activities. He authored several books.

 

Marlon Brando, Actor

Hollywood's all time famous actor died on 1st July, at the age of 80. He claimed never to enjoy acting, but Marlon Brando was one of the most influential performers of his generation. His performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront" and "The Godfather" earned him plaudits as one of the greatest actors of all time.

 

Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Kaftaro, Sunni cleric

Syria's top Sunni cleric Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kaftaro died on 1st Sep at the age of 89 after a heart attack. Kaftaro, who was elected Mufti of Syria in 1964 and had been in a hospital for about a week, having surgery for a stomach problem, when his heart failed.

 

Ashfaq Ahmed, Writer

Renowned writer, playwright, intellectual and broad caster Ashfaq Ahmed breathed his last at the of 79. He was well-known for his literary work and had been awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his outstanding services in the fields of literature and broadcasting. He had authored over 20 books. His subtle sense of humour is reflected in his long running radio programmes and characters like "Talqeen Shah", while several TV drama series based on his memorable plays of three decades ago are still enjoyed by the audience.

 

Tabish Dehlvi, Urdu poet

Renowned literary personality; former broadcaster and famous Urdu poet Ustad Tabish Dehlvi passed away on September 23, after a protracted illness. He was 93. Tabish was a poet who had given more than a dozen books, such as 'Dhoop Chahoon' and 'Nimroz', to Urdu literature. His poetry and his diction had gained grounds among literary circles. In literary circles of Urdu, there were very few poets who have won the laurel as 'Ustad' because of their traditional pattern and classical taste in writing poetry.

 

Afreen Baig, Actress, Producer

On the 15th of October, Afreen Baig, 32, was found slain in her home in Karachi. Afreen was famous for her natural performance which she gave in many plays and serials. She also produced many famous TV serials. Before her death she was working on a joint venture with India.

 

Mufti Jamil Ahmed Khan & Maulana Nazeer Ahmed Tawnsvi, Religious Scholars

Nazim of Aalmi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatam-e-Nabuwwat, Mufti Jamil Ahmed Khan & the Majlis' local Chief Maulana Nazeer Ahmed Tawnsvi were shot dead on 9th of October in Karachi. Mufti Jamil, 52, was a member of JUI's council and Nazim of Iqra Roza-tul-Itfaal, a chain of schools.

 

Begum Majid Malik, Educationist

Begum Amna Majid Malik, an educationist, philanthropist and founder of PECHS School & College passed away at the age of 91 on 5th of October, after a brief illness at a local hospital. She was the first Muslim girl in the Indian Sub-continent to top the matriculation exams.

Iftikhar Adeni, Civil Servant & Author

Iftikar I. A. Khan, alias Iftikhar Adeni died of a heart attack, aged 81, on the 9th of October. He was a renowned civil servant and a noted author who penned several books during his illustrious lifetime. He was the son of Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan, who was on the all India Muslim Action Committee with the Quaid.

 

Christopher Reeve, Actor (Superman)

Christopher Reeve (US actor), who brought comic book hero Superman to the silver screen & then championed the disabled after a riding accident left him paralysed, died of heart failure on the 10th of October. He was 52. Superman was the kind of part Reeve usually disdained. He was a stage actor at heart who preferred doing classical period plays and films that really required him to "act". He devoted himself to drumming up funds in hope of being able to walk again. He raised awareness of this issue, through his fame in a way no scientific/medical community could have.

 

Keith Miller, Cricketer

Australian, Keith Miller, rated one of cricket's greatest and most crowds pleasing all-rounders, died on October 11, in Melbourne, aged 84. He played in Don Bradman's Invincibles team on the '48 tour to England. He was a magnificent attacking batsmen, averaging about 37 in 55 tests & claimed 170 wickets at 22.97.

 

Mian Mahammed Sharif, Industrialist

Mian Mohammad Sharif, father of former PM Nawaz Sharif & former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz the Sharif died on 29th of October, of Cardiac arrest in Jeddah. He was 85.

 

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Ruler of UAE

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died on 2nd November, at the age of 86. Sheikh Zayed has been the absolute ruler of the United Arab Emirates, for more than 30 years. Since 1966, Sheikh Zayed has ruled Abu Dhabi, which became the capital of the United Arab Emirates when the seven federations were formed in 1971.

 

Howard Keel, Actor

Hollywood legend Howard Keel who famous in 'Dallas' died at 85, on 7th Nov. Howard Keel, star of American musicians and later in the hit 1980's TV series 'Dallas', died of colon cancer. Keel's six foot-3 inch frame and gravely voice made him the elder, gruff rival to J R Ewing, the spoiled, arrogant Texas oil tycoon played by, Larry Hagman. Keel said "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was his favorite film.

 

Sardar F S Lodi, Defence analyst

Sardar Farooq Shaukat Kahn Lodi, popularly known as Sardar F S Lodi died after protracted illness at the age of 75 on 14th September. Sardar Saheb was a renowned defence analyst and he wrote hundred of articles which were printed in different national dailies of Pakistan, in which he analysed defence perspective of Pakistan in an objective manner. He also appeared in many talk shows on TV and radio. While he was Core Commander Punjab in 1983, he became acting Governor for a short period of time during the illness of Gen Jilani who was Governor Punjab at that time. In 1984, he became the Governor of Balochistan. During this period, while he was coming from Islamabad after having a meeting with the then President, his plane crashed and he was the only survivor of this horrific incident. He also remained Federal Interior Minister for a very short period of time.

 

Mujeeb Alam, Singer

Celebrated film singer Mujeeb Alam died of cardiac arrest in Karachi when he was on his way to see a show with his family. Born in Kanpur in India on September 2, 1948, Mujeeb Alam started his film career in 1967 as a playback singer in the film Chakori. This was also the debut of Nadeem. Alam went on to become one of the most successful singers in Pakistan. Alam sang around 750 songs. He learnt singing from Bangladeshi musician Karim Shahabuddin. The song that brought him overnight fame was 'Wo meray samnay tasweer banay baithay hain' of the film Chakori for which Alam won the Nigar Awar. Chakori was the most famous film of Pakistan due to its musical score.

 

Ronald Reagan, Ex-US President & Actor

Ronald Reagan died at 93 on June 5, 2004. The conservative icon, the only native Illinoisan to become president, Reagan was plagued by Alzheimer's disease in his final years. He energised the country with his man-of-the-people image and love-of-country message.

 

Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader

Yasser Arafat died on November 11, at the age of 75. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for four decades of his efforts for Palestine. He had come to symbolise the Palestinian struggle against Israel, and also earned the title of 'Mr. Palestine'. He first became active in Palestinian politics while an engineering student in Cairo in the early 1950s. For over five decades, Yasser Arafat was a larger-than-life figure for those who admired him as well as those who hated and feared him, or, to be more precise, for those who hated and feared the Palestinian view of history, justice and politics. Since the late 1960s, Arafat was the icon of the Palestinian cause.

 

Arthur Hailey, Author

Famous author, Arthur Hailey died on the 24th of November, due to a stroke. Aged 84, he wrote big bestsellers like 'Airport' and 'Hotel', and also wrote for TV in the '40s, '50s and '60s.

 

P V Narasimha Rao

Former Indian Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister, India, P.V.Narasimha Rao, who launched socialist India on the path of free-market reforms in the '90s, died of a heart attack on 23rd December.

 

Ahmad Bashir, Writer

Noted journalist, intellectual and writer Ahmad Bashir died of liver cancer at the Services Hospital on 26th December. He was 81. Bashir was a portrait writer and he wrote profiles of people like Mumtaz Mufti, Krishan Chandar, Meera Ji, Zaheer Kashmiri, Maulana Chiragh Hasan Hasrat and Maulana Hasrat Mohani.

 

Mumtaz Rashdi, Social worker

Social figure of Sindh and founder of Samaj Sudhar Tehreek (SST), Mumtaz Rashdi left this mortal world during the year just passed by. She was Pakistan's first woman press attache. She was well aware of the social, economic, educational and health problems of the peasants and in particular the women and children who worked selflessly for them.

 

Mehmood Ali, Actor

Legendary Hindi film comedian Mehmood Ali died in the United States at the age of 72. The long-suffering actor was in Pennsylvania for medical treatment. Mehmood worked in more than 300 films in a career spanning almost three decades. His memorable films include Gumnaam, Bhoot Bangla, Padosan, Pyar Kiye Ja, Kunwara Baap, and Bombay To Goa.

 

Hassam Qazi, TV Actor

Hassam Qazi, a famous TV actor, passed away due to a severe heart attack at the Liaquat National Hospital at the age of 50. Hassam started his career from Quetta Television Centre, and within few years, his reputation was of an emerging star on drama scene. His first play was Khali Haath, produced by Dost Muhammad Gashkori. Later, Kazim Pasha caste him in an Urdu serial Chhaoon, in which he gave remarkable performance.

 

Mian Ejaz Shafi

Businessman & Politician

Mian Ejaz Shafi, Vice-President of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and chief organiser of its Sindh chapter, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 60.

 

Tiziano Terzani, Journalist

The Italian travel writer and journalist who died at the age of 65. He was one of the clearest and most original voices on the Italian literary scene. An expert on the continent of Asia, he was one of Italy's most highly regarded journalists internationally.


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