Veteran journalist Saleem Asmi passes away in Karachi
KARACHI: Veteran journalist and former editor of Dawn Saleem Asmi passed away in Karachi on Saturday, according to family and friends.
Asmi was the first Dawn editor from the news side, having served as a news editor for the paper and Khaleej Times. He was also responsible for launching Dawn's Islamabad edition.
During his time at Dawn, he paid special attention to covering art. Of the two magazines he left behind, The Gallery, as the name suggests, concerned art; the other was Books and Authors.
During his stint as editor, he decided to publish Osama bin Laden’s interview by Hamid Mir, even though he was a non-staffer, because the interview contained hard news about nuclear technology.
His colleague during his time at Dawn, Nizamuddin Siddiqi, said Asmi brought significant changes to the paper by introducing magazines and focused more on national news.
Asmi had also served as the president of the Karachi Press Club (KPC). According to KPC Secretary Arman Sabir, the senior journalist's funeral prayers will be decided after the arrival of his two sons who live abroad.
Condolences pour in
Condolences poured in as colleagues and friends reacted to the death of the senior journalist.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz said journalism had lost a "shining star".
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said Asmi carried "exceptional courage around him like a casual accessory, never talking about it, just using it when needed".
Hasan Zaidi, editor magazines Dawn, called the senior journalist a "wonderful human being".
Talat Aslam, senior editor at The News, said that Asmi was like a father figure to many younger journalists.
"He was my editor when I worked for Dawn in the late 90s and he was always there to offer advice and help. He will be missed by the profession and all those whose lives he touched," he said.
Bilal Farooqui, a journalist working for The Express Tribune, said Asmi was "a guiding light for so many seeking to understand journalistic standards and practices".