Wajid Shamsul Hasan
laid to rest, an era of
daring journalism ended

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Wajid Shamsul Hasan

LONDON: The veteran journalist, columnist, intellectual and senor diplomat Wajid Shamsul Hasan laid to rest today (Friday) at Trent Park Cemetery in Cockfoster (near Heathrow Airport). Earlier, his Namaz-e-Janaza (funeral prayer) was offered after Friday prayer at Islamic Cultural Centre (Regent Mosque).

Wajid Shamsul Hasan passed away on Tuesday after a prolonged illness. He was not well for the last two years and was under treatment in Royal Infirmary Hospital, London for the last six weeks.

He was 80 years old and in January next year, his 81st birthday was to be celebrated but he did not survive and left on Tuesday his all dear-one and friends. He left behind his only son Zulfiquar Wajid Hasan, spouse Mrs. Zarina Wajid and thousands of friends and mourners. An era of daring, conscious and audacious journalism ended with his death.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan who was well known in his circle as ‘Wajid Bhai’ had been associated with the profession of journalism for over 50 years. He was a regular columnist of ‘The Nation’, London and his columns were hidden truth and eye-opener. He was the former Editor of Daily News and Weekly Mag in Karachi.

Veteran intellectual Wajid Shamsul Hasan is seated in his office as high commissioner

He was also a close aide of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and later advisor to Prime Minister Mohatarma Benazir Bhutto and had served as Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK twice during the PPP’s tenure in 2008.

Former Prime Minister Mohatarma Benazir Bhutto consulting with her close aide and diplomat Wajid Shamsul Hasan

In a tweet, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condoled Hasan’s demise, saying an “immense source of strength and guidance for me left us today”.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan (as a high commissioner) addresses an event at Pakistan High Commission which was also addressed by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

“Journalist, diplomat, democrat, family friend, good bye uncle Wajid,” Bilawal wrote. “Nothing will be the same without you.”

Bilawal also shared his text conversation with Hasan last year, in which the former diplomat had reported being unwell.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan’s book

PPP Central Information Secretary Shazia Atta Marri expressed grief and sorrow over Hassan’s death, saying his journalistic, diplomatic and national services would always be remembered.

Hasan had stepped down as Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK in April 2014 after serving in the office for six years.

He was at the time the longest-serving Pakistani envoy to the UK. This was his second stint there, having worked as the high commissioner from 1994 to 1996.

A memorable picture of first Muslim QC Barrister Sibghatullah Kadri with Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Hasan was the author of ‘Bhutto Khandaan Meri Yaadon Mein: Wajid Shamsul Hasan Ki Nisf Sadi Par Muheet Yaadein‘.

Translating to ‘The Bhutto Family in My Memories: Wajid Shamsul Hasan’s Memoirs of Half a Century‘, this is an insider account of events centred on the Bhutto family, as narrated by someone who spent a lifetime associated with them. Additionally, the former diplomat in his book recounts memories of his own life and career trajectory, from starting out as a junior journalist to his appointment as the chairman of the National Press Trust.

Senator Sherry Rehman posted a condolence message for the veteran politician, acknowledging him for his “lifetime of devotion to democracy, human rights and free press.

“Shocked, saddened to hear that PPP stalwart Wajid Shamsul Hasan passed away. He spent a lifetime of devotion to democracy, human rights, free press and the PPP. What a loss. Heartfelt condolences to his family and the broader civil society community he was deeply involved with”, she said. 

Condolence messages are continuously pouring and the people are expressing their deep sorrow and grief. Lord Zameer Choudary, Lord Qurban Hussain, Barrister Sibghatullah Kadri QC, Ikram Khan, Bashir Riaz, M. Sarwar, Zahoor Niazi, Mehboob Choudhry, Syed Qamar Raza, former Lord Nazir Ahmed, Cllr. Tariq Dar, Shahid Saadullah, Saeed Niazi, Jahan Zeb, Faizan Arif, Shahid Ahmed and other countless mourners have paid tribute to him and his intrepid journalism and pray for his departed soul and highest place in paradise.