LAHORE, Jun 17 (APP):Iconic radio and television figure Tariq Aziz, who breathed his last after a heart attack here on Wednesday, was laid to rest at the Garden Block, Garden Town graveyard in the presence of family and friends. He was 84.
Earlier, Tariq Aziz’s funeral prayers were offered at a local mosque in Garden Block which was led by Qari Sadaqat Ali.
Renowned figures from the show-biz industry including Qawi Khan, Sohail Ahmed, and people from all walks of life attended the funeral prayers.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, literary figures, artists, his admirers and people from all walks of life have condoled the sad demise of Tariq Aziz, terming it a great loss.
Tariq Aziz, who made his mark as a pioneer television game-show host ‘Neelam Ghar’ on Pakistan Television (PTV), was born in Jalandhar (British Punjab) on April 28,1936 and his family migrated to Pakistan after partition of India in 1947. He got education in Sahiwal (formerly Montgomery) but later moved to Lahore in 1961 to pursue a career at Radio Pakistan as announcer and breathed his last in the very city which embraced his talents and gave him eternal fame.
According to Dr. Mehdi Hasan, (who happens to be boyhood friend and spent many years together in Sahiwal and shared rooms in Lahore till Tariq Aziz joined Pakistan Television in 1964) Tariq Aziz came to Lahore to join Radio Pakistan as announcer in 1961. He was, later in 1964, selected as male television presenter by the then Managing Director PTV Aslam Azhar after television was launched. Tariq Aziz enjoys the distinction of being the first male television presenter when PTV launched its transmission on 26th November 1964.
Tariq Aziz, who remained associated with PTV till his last breath, won eternal fame as game-show host ‘Neelam Ghar’ – a show he hosted for almost for four decades with few breaks from 1974 till 2012. The show was more of a source of information and knowledge than a mere entertainment program. ‘Neelam Ghar’ became so synonymous with the persona of Tariq Aziz that the show was re-named as ‘Tariq Aziz Show’ in 1997 while it was further re-phrased ‘Bazm-e-Tariq’ in 2006. ‘Bazm-e-Tariq’ holds the record of the longest broadcast television show in Pakistan besides the first game show in Asia with mass audience and commercial sponsorships.
If versatility could be defined through feats, Tariq Aziz fulfilled all criteria as he was a poet, actor, politician, journalist and a broadcaster who set new standards. He hosted ‘Neelam Ghar’ with such a difference that his trademark style of anchoring became a school in itself. His voice quality and knowledge of Urdu language set him apart from others.
Tariq Aziz also acted in films during the 60s and 70s and started his career from the film ‘Insaaniyat’ and later acted in many other films.
About his literary achievements as a poet, his life-long friend Dr. Mehdi Hasan said Tariq Aziz could not complete his graduation due to professional commitments and no taste for English language but his hard work enabled to explore the intricacies of Urdu poetry. Tariq Aziz has to his credit a Punjabi poetry collection ‘Hamzad da Dukh’ while his newspaper columns were compiled in book form under the title ‘Daastan’. Tariq Aziz also penned down a book ‘Iqbal Shinasi’ as he was a great fan of Iqbal’s poetry.
Though Tariq Aziz won multiple awards during his illustrious show-biz career, and was recognized by the government of Pakistan as well when he was awarded Pride of Performance in 1992.
Tariq Aziz had nurtured political affiliation and was inspired by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s ideology in the 70s. He, however, contested election from the platform of PML-N and was elected as Member National Assembly (MNA) in 1997 and remained the member till military takeover by the then General Pervez Musharraf in 1999. He joined PML-Q in 2002 and his wife Dr. Hajra was elected to the National Assembly on a reserved seat from PML-Q in 2002. Tariq Aziz left widow Dr. Hajra among the mourners as he died issueless.
Tariq Aziz, according to literary figure Mustansir Hussain Tarar, was an institution in himself and PTV had lost a father-like figure. He said Tariq Aziz was a versatile figure and the greatest star of PTV.
Since he had witnessed the painful partition as a boy, he was full of patriotic passion and love for the country, and every show of ‘Neelam Ghar’ ended with a slogan “Pakistan Zinda Abad” (Long Live Pakistan) to reflect his love for the country and the same love has resonated in his will, made public in 2018, in which he declared to give all his property and wealth to the state of Pakistan.