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Masood Hamid: The best of us.

By Anwar Akhtar

April 22 2015


I first met Masood Hamid in Karachi in 2009, through an introduction by a mutual friend.

I was just in the process of setting up the Samosa media project, which has grown and done the work that it has, in both Britain and Pakistan, in great part due to the generosity and patience with which Masood Hamid gave his time, advice, counsel and so much more to us.

I also know that I and the organisation I work for are not alone in that debt, for Masood at times seemed to be a one man mission to hold and connect progressive groups and organisations, trying to help Pakistan. His resilience, energy and focus were quite awesome.

He was also, I think the most selfless and generous person I have ever met. I lost count of the multiple favours and help he gave me. Yet the only thing, I can ever recall him asking me, was to pick up the occasional book from London, not available in Karachi for either him or his family.

He was very aware of just how difficult and overwhelming the problems facing Pakistan seemed. He was always working, to help as many of those, that were trying to do the right thing, as he possibly could.

He was an impressive historian of Pakistan and India, and a hands on media, welfare and campaigns person. I had many long conversations with him on the history of the lands that he knew so well.

The play Dara recently was performed at the National Theatre London, in partnership with Ajoka Theatre to great critical acclaim and success, was initiated by the Samosa media project.  The research, planning and development work I did, would not have happened without the years of guidance and friendship from Masood Hamid. I recall many long conversations with him in various cafes in Clifton and Defence about the Moghuls and their legacy, as well as the confused nature of things in Pakistan today. It would usually end with him taking a call, to go to another mtg and instructions, to keep going and keep in touch.

It was with Masood’s help, we were able to start the process of working in Pakistan, that eventually led to Ajoka bringing the play Dara by Shahid Nadeem to London.  Masood was also central to many of the films that have been made for the Pakistan Calling film platform, we set up with the Royal Society of Arts & Commerce.

The nickname Mr Karachi was perfect for Masood as he knew every nook and cranny of the city. He was a hero of Karachi and all those he supported, will long remember him.

His legacy will also empower the next generation, in which he put so much time and effort.  In the culture of VIPS and elitism, that is a curse in Pakistan, Masood was somebody, that both believed in and practiced meritocracy.

His loss to his family and to Pakistan is huge, he was the best of us and he was taken too soon. I for one,  promise to carry on my work as a tribute to and in respect of him. My sympathies go to his family Afshan, Tooba and Asad and with all those that worked with him at Dawn.  May Allah bless him and he rest in peace. Anwar Akhtar

Editor’s note.  Mr Masood Hamid, Director Marketing, Pakistan Herald Publications Private Limited, was found murdered in his car in Defence Housing Authority’s phase 8, Karachi, on Friday night, April 17. The Dawn Media Group said in a statement. Mr. Hamid was killed by a single shot, and apparently died on the spot. The unknown gunmen also left the weapon used in the murder in his car before fleeing the scene.


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