Renowned journalist and editor of Pakistan Today Arif Nizami passed away on Wednesday at the age of 74, his nephew Babar Nizami said.
Arif Nizami had suffered from a heart attack around three weeks ago and was admitted to a private hospital in Lahore, Babar added.
Nizami had served as the former caretaker minister for information and broadcasting in 2013 and had also worked for The Nation before starting his own newspaper Pakistan Today.
He was the son of Hameed Niazi, the founder of the Nawa-i-Waqt Group, and was also elected as the president of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) more than once.
His funeral prayers will be offered at Allahu Mosque in Lahore’s Defence area at 8pm.
He is survived by three sons.
‘From the old guard’
Condolences and tributes poured in from both sides of the political spectrum on Nizami’s passing with his name trending among the top 10 on Twitter as his former colleagues shared memories of working with him.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “saddened” by Nizami’s death, adding that his prayers went out to the journalist’s family.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also conveyed his condolences on the journalist’s passing. “May Allah bless his soul & give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss,” he was quoted as saying by the ISPR.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that an era of “old school journalism” had come to an end. “As a journalist, editor and anchor, [Nizami] was second to none,” he said.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry too said he was saddened by the journalist’s passing.
“I had a long relationship with him. His father Hameed Nizami and my grandfather Chaudhry Owais and uncle Chaudhry Altaf Hussain were colleagues in the Pakistan Movement. Because of this, my relationship with him was the same as a relationship with an elder of the family,” he added.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed too recalled his long association, spanning five decades, with the Nizami family.
“Arif Nizami’s death is not less than a personal loss for me,” he said and prayed for the deceased journalist.
“Devastated that old friend, colleague and pillar of Pakistani journalism, Arif Nizami, has passed away,” PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said.
Paying tribute to Nizami, she added: “His passing symbolises the end of an era! He was from an old guard who sacrificed for principles and never shied from telling bald truths to power.”
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said he was “shocked” to learn about Nizami’s demise.
He remembered him as an “outstanding journalist, perceptive political commentator and a good friend”.
Former Pakistani ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said Nizami’s passing away was a “loss for Pakistan”.
“Really saddened to hear this tragic news. Arif was a dear friend, a distinguished journalist and a wonderful human being,” she tweeted.
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri also conveyed his condolences, saying Nizami’s contribution to Pakistani journalism will be remembered.