Veteran journalist Zawwar Hasan whose career ranged from sports reporter and editorial writer to travel magazine editor and public affairs manager, passed away peacefully on Saturday after a brief illness, four months short of his 97th birthday.
Born in January 1927 in Pratapgarh, India, he did his LLB from Allahabad University, then moved to the new state of Pakistan. In 1949, he started working as a sports journalist with the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) in the then capital Karachi. He went on to become APP’s Chief Correspondent in Lahore, earning front-page bylines in papers like the Civil & Military Gazette.
He joined the daily Dawn in 1960 as Chief Reporter and later worked at The Morning News in Karachi as a senior editorial writer, before moving on briefly to The Sun.
His overseas stints included attending the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Project for Foreign Newspapermen in 1957 with reporters from Taiwan, Iran, and South Korea. His fellowship included stints at The Denver Post, in Denver, Colorado; The Lawrence Daily Journal-World, in Lawrence, Kansas; and The Mexico Ledger, in Mexico, Missouri.
He was also a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, 1966-67.
A keen sportsman, he is perhaps the only Pakistani reporter to have covered three Olympics: Melbourne, 1956, and Rome, 1960, for APP, and Sydney 2000, for Dawn on special assignment.
Zawwar Hasan launched the groundbreaking travel magazine, Focus on Pakistan, for the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. He later joined PIA’s public relations department, retiring as General Manager Advertising.
In the mid-1990s, he relocated to California where his children had settled. His wife Abida Hasan’s brother Brig. (r.) Mohammad Ahmed passed away barely two weeks ago in Rawalpindi. He also leaves behind his youngest sister Zakia Sarwar, educationist and co-founder Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) and brother Wing Cdr. (r.) Ali Hasan, besides a large extended family in Pakistan, India, and elsewhere. Another sister, prominent linguist Dr Ruqaiya Hasan passed away in Australia, 2015.
He was known for his wit and humour, besides his acumen for sports and politics. His old friends and colleagues included late veteran journalists like M. Ziauddin, Hameed Akhtar, Saleem Asmi, Iqbal Jafri, A.H. Chappra, and Zamir Niazi, among others, who have also passed on.