The television and stage star, best known for hosting ‘Neelam Ghar’ on PTV, died in hospital this morning
Veteran actor and television host Tariq Aziz passed away on Wednesday at a hospital in Lahore. He was 84.
According to Aziz’s family, he was admitted to hospital in critical condition on Tuesday night and passed away this morning.
A prominent fixture on Pakistan’s television screens for decades, Aziz started his career at Radio Pakistan before joining the newly launched Pakistan Television (PTV) in November 1964. Aziz was the first man to be seen on PTV as its first male announcer.
In addition to his career as a radio host and TV anchor, Aziz also acted on both TV and stage. Among his most popular works were Pakistani films Insaniyat (1967), and Salgira (1969), the latter of which two Nigar Awards, Pakistan’s answer to the Academy Awards.
Aziz’s most long lasting role—and one he is most popularly known for—was as host for Neelam Ghar, a quiz show on PTV that started broadcasting in 1974. His popularity in the role in evident from it being renamed the Tariq Aziz Show in 1997, and then to Bazm-e-Tariq Aziz in 2006. The show lasted over 35 years, and celebrated its 300th episode in February 2012.
The actor was also a well-known philanthropist, organizing various telethons, and donating large sums of money to welfare organizations throughout his career. In 2018, he posted on Twitter that he had no children, so he was leaving “all his earnings for the welfare of the country” upon his passing.
In addition to his career on TV and radio, Aziz was also active in politics. Initially joining the Pakistan Peoples Party in 1970, he grew disillusioned with the party and parted ways shortly after. In 1996, he joined the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), and was elected a member of the National Assembly from Lahore in 1997 before stepping down when the government was ousted in a military coup in 1999.
During the rule of President Pervez Musharraf, he joined the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), but was sidelined and returned to the entertainment industry.
For his distinguished career and services to Pakistan, Aziz received the country’s highest civilian literary honor, the Pride of Performance Award, in 1992.
Fellow actor Mustansir Hussain Tarar told Geo News that it was the “end of an era,” adding that Aziz had succeeded in acting, compering, and poetry.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed his sorrow at Aziz’s death. “Saddened to learn of the passing of Tariq Aziz, an icon in his time and a pioneer of our TV game shows. My condolences and prayers go to his family,” he posted on Twitter.
Aziz is survived by his wife.