Farewell to many-splendored innings of Haseeb Ahsan
IKhalid Butt T was my former PIA colleague and live PR man Ch. Bashir, who called me this, morning from Karachi to break the tragic but not unexpected news of the passing away of Haseeb Ahsan. Haseeb has been critically ill with multiple health problems lying almost in a coma for past few days in Agha Khan Hospital. Although I had not met him for a long time since leaving Karachi, I was lucky to speak few words with him on phone about 3 days ago in his hospital bed with the help of his attendant Abid, also a friend. Naturally it was a one way process as he could listen not able to speak.
My friendship and close association with Haseeb went a long way back since he had joined PIA, appointed by the then airline chief Nur Khan. A cricket protégé discovered by Hafeez Kardar to induct him in Pakistan team on their maiden 1958 tour of Westindies as an off-spinner and babe of the side along with another youngster, Ijaz Butt, he never looked back in his remarkable career which apart from spanning cricket (as a player, chief selector, and an administrator) also took him to distinguish him as a successful airline executive in PIA in its golden years and subsequently playing a key role in its international chain of overseas hotels. Subsequently he was able to a eke out a new career with American Express in their Travel Division to become its country head and then emerge as a consumnate diplomat to the lrish Consulate in Karachi. He had many achievements to his credit including his efforts to set up a full-fledged sports department in the airline. He also enjoyed a wide influence throughout his career as he had easy access to many top personalities being the son of a senior and distinguished civil servant, late M.A Muzzafar founder of NIT and a senior ranking official of the Finance Ministry.
Although his cricket career was most unfortunately cut short by unseemingly and shameful intrigues of some of his team mates, Haseeb remained at peace with himself and never let these reverses’ upset him or let down his noble spirits. Forever he remained a man who helped countless people and would always he remembered for his qualities as a superb and matchless human being. May God bless you Haseeb, and grant solace to your family members and especially to Hanif Muhammad, with whom he was particularly close for many many years.