February 04, 2017
ISLAMABAD - Veteran journalist, broadcaster and poet Syed Shahid Hashmi passed away in a London hospital following a brief bout of pneumonia on February 1. He was laid to rest at the Gardens of Peace cemetery.
According to a post on his son Faraz Hashmi's Facebook timeline, he brought a distinct pride to the entire family when the first Martial Law was declared in October 1958. Shahid Hashmi, along with four others was the first to be arrested for being “enemy of the state”. His charge-sheet before the Magistrate read: “Was found writing slogans against the Glorious October Revolution on the trees of Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi”.
As a leader of the Jang Workers Union, his long struggle against the oppressive press owners earned Shahid Hashmi a distinct mark. It was 1970 as he, along with others, had gone on a hunger strike against the exploitation of daily wage journalists and press workers. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then on his election campaign happened to be in Rawalpindi. While visiting the camp of protesting journalist workers, ZAB raised Hashmi’s hands in the air to quip his famous remark “Jang say hamari jang rahay gee (we will continue our fight against the oppression of newspaper owners).
This struggle remained part and parcel of Shahid Hashmi's life. Once, while negotiating his role in a PTV play, he noticed the producer's rowdy behavior with a budding actor. He would not take it. No one could exploit anyone in his presence. The poor producer was promptly put to the mat.
A broadcaster par excellence, his entire showbiz career remained hostage to his trade-unionism. No wonder, the management never wanted him while he was the people's chosen voice. He was the brother of late Syed Ashraf Hashmi, himself a journalist of repute.
Shahid Hashmi's son Faraz works with the BBC in London and years ago was associated with Dawn in Islamabad.
The deceased was uncle of Syed Shamoon Hashmi, Joint Secretary National Assembly Secretariat and Syed Zafar Hashmi, Chief Reporter of Daily Dunya.
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A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.