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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Anjum Niaz: RIP KO

That same evening one read the Dawn to discover that Kaleem Omar, 72, had suffered a fatal heart attack. KO as we called him during the Star days was too serious for the rowdy lot that surrounded him in the newsroom. He would simply be pounding away at his typewriter, only looking up to light yet another cigarette or ask of the umpteenth cup of tea. Within hours he’d roll out his sheets of paper from the typewriter, giving one fleeting look at the numerous pages and march off to the editor’s room looking smug (or so we thought then). KO was educated, sophisticated and bordering on brilliance. He didn’t have a mean bone in him. Today, were you to scan old copies of the Star, now sadly put out of publication, you’d notice Kaleem Omar’s byline on almost all the pages! When Benazir became the PM for the first time, she gave an exclusive to KO. He was a great fan of BB’s. Soon the staff at Star said goodbye to KO who was invited by the PM to become her media advisor and move to Islamabad. KO, always dressed in black or grey shalwar kamiz with a black waistcoat, looked real happy for once in his life. But his happiness was short-lived. He was back in our midst soon. We never did find why his new assignment didn’t work out. KO had moved to The News years ago and died with his last column hot off the press.


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