Pakistani media mourns Muhammad Najeeb

January 23rd, 2009 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 23 (IANS) The Pakistani media Friday paid homage to Muhammad Najeeb, the IANS Islamabad correspondent who died Thursday after a heart attack. One report called him a “much-valued friend of the media community”.Najeeb, 41, was Thursday afternoon rushed to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where, according to a report in The News Friday, “he allegedly expired for want of emergency treatment”.

His wife and three sons - Saad, 12, Hassan, 10, and Sheheryar, 5 - survive Najeeb. He was the youngest of three brothers and three sisters.

Najeeb “was a popular figure in the newsroom. His ready wit, encyclopaedic knowledge, grace of expression and gentle demeanour endeared him to many,” Shahina Maqbool wrote in The News.

Talking to The News, Adnan Rehmat, country director of Internews Network, recollected his decade-long association with Najeeb. “I always found him attentive to details; at the same time, he kept the larger picture in context. He had many attractive job offers but he firmly believed that his life was in media.

“He worked long hours, trying to introduce reform at the entry, policy and institutional levels. He would individually mobilize mediapersons and try to coax seniors to train the younger lot,” Rehmat added.

On Wednesday night, Najeeb returned to Islamabad from Quetta via Karachi, where he had been conducting consultations. Muddassir Rizwi, a close friend and former journalist who worked with him at The News, accompanied him on the trip.

According to Najeeb’s eldest brother-in-law Mohammad Irshad, a former deputy controller of Radio Pakistan, on Thursday Najeeb “went to office as usual and then visited his landlord’s house where he fell unconscious after a brief spell of shivering”.

He was taken to the hospital, where he was proclaimed dead.

Najeeb started his journalistic career as a sub-editor with The News International in 1991 and was news editor when he left the publication in 1997.

After that, Najeeb was editor of News Network International (NNI), Pakistan’s first private news agency, for four years till 2000.

Since then he had been writing for IANS. He also worked on development issues and was associated with The Network for Consumer Protection for 18 months in 2002-04.

In 2005, Najeeb started Intermedia, a media development organisation, with the aim of strengthening journalists’ capabilities.

Asked whether Najeeb was a victim of medical negligence, PIMS spokesman Waseem Khawaja told The News that the preliminary report showed he was brought dead to the hospital.

“He was BP-less, meaning that he had no blood pressure; he was pulse-less, meaning he had no pulse; and he had fixed dilated pupils, meaning that he was brain dead,” Khawaja said. But the PIMS has set up a committee to probe his death.

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