Tribute: Sultan Hasan
“He was a great man, a great company, a thorough professional and honest to the core. A chronic bachelor who had become the face of KESC and PIA during their worst periods as their spokesman, Karachiites remember his long hair and solid arguments on TV. He would never avoid a call and answer any tough question even in the worst times.” – Shaheen Sehbai
Ifever there was a person in Pakistan who truly understood the profession of public relations, it was Syed Sultan Hasan. He died in Lahore on May 8 from a heart attack though there was still much more for him to do in the field of PR. Not a typical PRO sort of a person in the official mould, Sultan Hasan worked as a public relations person in many organisations, such as the KESC (now KE), PIA and earlier, in the Sindh government. In fact, this was where he started his professional career in the 1970s.
He graduated from the DJ Science College and then did his Masters from the University of Karachi. After leaving his job at the Sindh Information Department, he joined the Karachi Cotton Exchange as a public relations officer. He was with Benazir Bhutto’s media team when she was elected the prime minister of Pakistan for her second stint in 1993. He worked at the Prime Minister‘s House but left the job when he became a bit uncomfortable about how things were handled there.
He later headed the public relations department of the Karachi Electric Supply Company. Being a friendly sort of person, he had very good relations with media persons. Despite his good relations, he found himself on the mat on many occasions but masterfully tackled belligerent media people at some of the worst times when the power utility failed to meet the needs of citizens. There were many occasions when he alone withstood the cross-questioning of TV anchorpersons without being ruffled. Another man in his place would have probably stormed out of the studio in rage. He then left the KESC to join Pakistan International Airlines as their general manager, public relations. There again, he faced a hostile media who had many pertinent questions to ask in view of the airline’s falling standards and its failings on almost all fronts. Here too he faced media queries with courage and never flinched in his responses. At both KESC and PIA, he would always come across as a knowledgeable person who knew the subject at hand inside out, ready with answers to all kinds of tough questions. For a short stint, Sultan Hasan worked for the Ziauddin Hospital as a media person and then joined CMC (Pvt) Ltd, a leading public relations firm to head the team that handled the PIA account.
Journalist Shaheen Sehbai, writing on Facebook, said about Sultan Hasan:
“He was a great man, a great company, a thorough professional and honest to the core. A chronic bachelor who had become the face of KESC and PIA during their worst periods as their spokesman, Karachiites remember his long hair and solid arguments on TV. He would never avoid a call and answer any tough question even in the worst times.” The CMC President and CEO, Syed
Jawaid Iqbal, fondly remembers Sultan Hasan. He had known him for a long time and shared many happy memories with the late Sultan Hasan. He always found him to be a kind and helpful soul who would go the extra mile to help friends and even strangers. Jawaid particularly remembered Sultan Hasan’s services to his company, especially in its formative years.
Another journalist, Rehan Siddiqui, who is the Marketing & Sourcing Manager at Sky Telecom, says he had the pleasure of working with Mr. Sultan at KESC. He names him as an expert in the field of PR, talent and performance management. Rehan described Sultan Hasan as a person who knew exactly what he wanted and was never deterred from achieving his goals. His friend and companion of long years, Farhat Saeed, remembers Sultan Hasan with deep affection. For him, he was gem of a person who stood with friends through thick and thin and never let them down. He would be available at any time of the day or night because it seemed as if he had been born only to ‘give.’ It would take him just one hour to respond positively to anyone in distress since he was always just a phone call away.
Says Humma Ahmad, former editor, The News, about late Sultan Sahib: “We shall miss those laughing eyes, the kindness of heart and everything that was wonderful.”
Fizzah Saeed describes Sultan Hasan as a man of truth, honour and dignity, a person of valour, courage and integrity.
Journalist Talat Rahim says Sultan Hasan was a good soul and loved by all.
Aamir Abbasi, another PR professional, who also served as a PR person at KESC, says a piece of valuable advice that he got from Sultan Hasan was: “Answer every call.”