Wajid Shamsul Hasan, former high commissioner to Britain,
passed away on Tuesday, several People’s Party leaders confirmed.
Government-run APP news agency also reported that Hasan
passed away in London after a prolonged illness.
Ill for more than two years, he was admitted to a hospital
in London two weeks ago after his health deteriorated.
He served as an envoy to the UK in two separate stints: one
during 1994-96 by Benazir Bhutto herself and then in 2008 till April 2014
during the previous PPP tenure.
Hasan was a journalist who started his career as soon as he
completed his masters in international relations in 1962. In 1969, he joined
Daily News newspaper as its editor. He also served as the editor of
English-language magazine Mag.
Also in 1969, he was appointed as the chairman of the
National Press Trust (NPT), a government-run entity that controlled as many as
14 daily newspapers and magazines in both Urdu and English, including Pakistan
Times, Morning News and Imrooz.
A close confidant of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and
later Asif Ali Zardari and a diehard PPP supporter, he was part of the
presidential entourage at the Simla Summit in 1972. He also accompanied Bhutto
on his official tour to the United States and Canada in February 1976 as part
of the official media team.
He was an avid reader, prolific writer and sought-after
commentator on various issues. In his later years, he wrote a personal memoir
titled: Bhutto Khandan Meri Yaadon Mein (The Bhutto Family Through My
Wajid Shamsul Hasan was revered for his secular and liberal
views and commitment to the cause of democracy and empowering people,
especially women and minorities.
Condoling his death, Senator Shery Rehman said
that she was saddened by the news of Wajid Shamsul Hasan’s death.
Terming his death a great loss, she stated in a tweet: “He
spent a lifetime of devotion to democracy, human rights, free press and the
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also expressed grief and sorrow over
“Journalist, diplomat, democrat, family friend … Good bye uncle Wajid … (An) Immense source of strength and guidance (has) left us today. Nothing will be the same without you,” the PPP chairman said in a tweet along with a few memorable photographs.
The central information secretary of PPP, Shazia Atta Marri, also expressed grief and sorrow over his death. Marri said that Wajid Shamsul Hasan would always be remembered for services rendered as a journalist and diplomat.