LAHORE - Legendary television host, actor and poet Tariq Aziz passed away in Lahore on Wednesday. He was 84. He was laid to rest in the evening at a local graveyard. People from all walks of life including his fans, relatives and artists attended his funeral prayer.

Tariq Aziz had the distinction of being the first male television newscaster of PTV though he started his career with Radio Pakistan in the 1960s. Later, he also became the first television host in early years of Pakistan Television.

He earned fame from his TV show, Neelam Ghar which later became known as Tariq Aziz Show. This programme started in 1974 on PTV and continued for four decades.  Also a poet and an actor, Tariq Aziz acted in several films including Insaniat, Haar Gaya Insaan, Salgirah, Qasam Us Waqt Ki and Katari.

His book, titled, “Hamzaad da Dukh” was a valuable contribution in Punjabi literature.  He was awarded the prestigious Pride of Performance Award by the Pakistan government in 1992 in recognition of his services for entertainment industry. Tariq Aziz also tried his luck in politics and remained member of National Assembly of Pakistan from 1997 to 1999.

He was born in Jalandhar, India, on April 28, 1936. After the partition, his family migrated to Pakistan and settled in Sahiwal district where he received his early education. Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

President Arif Alvi said in his tweet: “A chapter closes with the sad demise of Tariq Aziz. May his soul rest in peace. I will fondly remember his opening greetings in Neelam Ghar”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan dubbed him an “icon in his time and a pioneer of our TV game shows”. He said he was saddened to hear about Aziz’s death. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed grief over the demise of legendary broadcaster and outstanding Artist Tariq Aziz. “His services for Pakistan will always be remembered. May Allah bless the departed soul in eternal peace and give strength to the bereaved family, Aameen,” the army chief said.