Award winning journalist and Afghan affairs expert Rahimullah Yusafzai passes away - GulfToday

Award winning journalist and Afghan affairs expert Rahimullah Yusufzai passes away


Rahimullah Yusufzai was the resident editor of The News at Peshawar and was also a correspondent of BBC Urdu and Pashto service in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

Celebrated journalist of international fame Rahimullah Yusufzai, who was also the Resident Editor of The News in Peshawar, Pakistan, has passed away after battling with the deadly cancer for 15 months. He was 67.

His funeral prayer was offered at his village Inzargi, Katlang, on Friday. Born on Sept.10, 1954 at Shamozai village near Katlang area of Mardan district, the great journalist was laid to rest exactly on the day he had arrived in this mortal world. He left behind four sons and two daughters.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) Thursday have condoled death of award winning-journalist Yusufzai.

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After receiving early education from his native village, Yusufzai moved to Jehlum with his father, who was serving in the armed forces. He enrolled in the Army College Jehlum to fulfill his family dream of joining army as a commissioned officer. He was tall and handsome. He was brilliant in his academic and extracurricular activities. His intelligence and performance on stage and in ground earned him great popularity in the prestigious institution.

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He had achieved excellent marks in his academics and awards for his best performance on stage in the college activities. He was so handsome that he would play both the role of male and female in the college dramas. He was doing so well in his college and was fully prepared for joining the armed forces as an officer when he got problems with his eyesight and thus, he became ineligible for the army.

He had ceased to continue his studies at the army college, Jhelum after his matriculation and he came back home. During the same period his father was detained in Bangladesh and he spent two years in Indian prison.

Yusufzai, being the elder son of his father, had to take care of the family at a tender age. However, he continued his studies by taking admission in Government College Mardan in higher secondary classes. Later, he moved to Karachi to do some job and continue his studies as well. He took admission in the famous DJ Science College, Karachi. Simultaneously, he continued doing odd jobs to bear his educational expenses and support his family as well.

RahimullahsbRahimullah was the only journalist, who had interviewed Osama Bin Laden.  

After his graduation, he got an opportunity to serve as copy holder in an English daily newspaper and from here his journey towards excellence started. He moved to Islamabad after working in Karachi for a few years and here he served some research organisation.

Later, he joined The Muslim, an English Daily as bureau chief, in Peshawar. In early 90s, when The News was launched, he joined it as bureau chief in Peshawar and later he was elevated as Resident Editor. He continued serving in The News till his last breath.

Together with his job in The News, he continued serving in leading world organisations like British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Times Magazine and others.
He was a committed hard worker. He would never hesitate from going to the most difficult and dangerous destination in connection with his journalistic responsibilities and would file great stories. He was the only journalist, who had interviewed Osama Bin Laden, on multiple occasions at a time when the later was the most wanted person of the world.

He was also the lone journalist to have interviewed Mullah Muhammad Omar, the founder head of Afghan Taliban and the former ruler of Afghanistan.
Yusufzai was the real expert of Afghan affairs and the war against terror. His interviews on television, radios and his writings in newspapers would truly educate a person who intended to know about the conflict on both side of the borders and other issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He trained a galaxy of good journalists in the country. He was a great boss. It was an honour to work with him. He was a great teacher as well. Blessed with matchless professional qualities Yusufzai was nice human being. He was having a very humble nature. He would give respect to all and sundry. He would listen patiently to anyone talking to him and would respond in a very gentle manner.

Though he used to remain very busy all the time, he would never switch his phone off and would pick up the phone call of everyone whether he knew him or not and would respond to the caller in a positive manner.

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