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Khalid H. Khan (1963-2021) - An Obituary


The passing away of Pakistan’s leading English cricket journalist Khalid H. Khan, a long-serving senior reporter at The Dawn Media Group in Karachi, on November 23, 2021, leaves behind a legacy of dedication, uprightness and to top it all a great advocacy of Pakistan domestic cricket.

Equally admired for his professionalism by fellow journalists, players and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), he breathed his last, a month short of turning 58.

Khalid Hasan Khan, the third in line of six siblings was born in Karachi (Sind) on December 26, 1963, in a family that originated in Bihar, East India and had opted to migrate to Pakistan, shortly after its independence was declared in 1947. His father Shahudul Hasan Khan, employed as an accountant with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan was posted in Sri Lanka, Thailand & India. This would result in Khalid’s childhood and education in Colombo, where he lived for eight years and having enrolled in 1973 at Isipathana College, a national school for boys, he took his O levels in 1980. He always attributed his writing skills to the schooling and ‘secretly’ listening to radio commentary in Colombo and was thrilled to bits on his return as a working journalist to report in Sri Lanka, during the 2011 ICC World Cup.

Khalid did his Intermediate (Commerce Group) from Aisha Bawany Government College, Karachi, to be followed by Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) from Karachi University. Within a year afterwards he decided to combine his passions of cricket, which he had played for Pak Green Sports club in Colombo, and writing, with a view to a career. In the 1982-83 period, whilst serving his ‘apprenticeship’ Khalid produced writing that was published in Dawn, The Cricketer (Pakistan), and The Star – all three Karachi publications. There were already signs of hard graft and application.

In his second phase as a journalist, Khalid worked as an Assistant Editor, World of Cricket (monthly), Karachi (1984-85), Assistant Editor, Cricket Herald (monthly) (1985-87), Public Relation Officer with Karachi Type Foundries (1987-89) and with MAG weekly, Karachi (1989-92), where he would end up as in-charge of sports section.

First taken up by The News International (Jang Group of Newspapers), where he was Sports Desk In-charge (1994-97), he took great pains in attending domestic cricket at all grounds in Karachi and was known to do his own scoring on which he would base his report. When it came to a daily despatch, particularly at Dawn he didn’t ‘trust’ anyone. His presence in the working environment was often termed as uplifting for no matter of disruption in Karachi’s chaotic living could deter Khalid from reaching Dawn office and giving his utmost best to the profession. No wonder his match reports, articles and features compare so favourably with his peers in Pakistan.

Such was his way with the players – both domestic and international - that he was able to research with considerable ease and build bio-data of upcoming players. The whole exercise, it seems, hinged on highlighting their performances at grassroots level and championing their cause. Khalid’s generation of sports journalists just like national players were deprived of international cricket at home, for the best part of a decade, following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009. In this period the three UAE venues – Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Sharjah - would become Pakistan team’s adopted ‘home’ for international exchanges, thus keeping Khalid away for longer periods, from his family in Karachi.

For Khalid, it was a matter of joy in watching promising players to progress right to the top of the tree by representing Pakistan, more so for the ones he had identified as having potential to do so. It is fair to say that no cricket match was insignificant for Khalid as he often took the lead in reporting on Grade II and age-group cricket in Karachi. He was happy to guide young players, more so at the beginning of their careers, a fact confirmed by a volume of messages on social media platforms, following his death.

He would co-edit World Cup Cricket ’87 – a publication prior to the tournament staged in India & Pakistan, with fellow journalist, Shahid Hashmi. According to Khalid, ‘Nothing likens to what I have achieved in my four decades of cricket journalism than to sit down and interview West Indies’ Vivian Richards, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, during the IPL3 in Dubai in 2018. An absolute privilege, to say the least.’

A fellow journalist, Rashid Shakoor recalls Khalid as, ‘A hard-working journalist, who took great pride in his work and Pakistan cricket is much the poorer with his loss and that vacuum will be ever so hard to fill. Ever since our first meeting in 1985, I could tell how passionate he was about the game, in particular his sharp focus on domestic cricket.’

Munir-ul-Haq, a sports anchor with Radio Pakistan, Karachi, ‘I got to know Khalid when he moved to a flat next door to me in Gulistan-e-Iqbal. Not long afterwards we were family friends and I was a witness to his dedicated approach to sports journalism and he could not stand short cuts and people who opted for that.’

The last year or so, prior to his death had put Khalid under considerable financial strain, since Dawn’s austerity measures had slashed the salaries of their staff by a half. Despite the hardships, he would choose to lean towards optimism. After battling with severe headache, followed by a fortnight in hospital in a state of coma, he finally succumbed to brain haemorrhage.

Khalid is survived by ageing mother, wife and four daughters. Married in April 1995, he is fondly recalled as a loving and caring son, husband and father, who remained mindful of his supportive role at home. Performing Hajj alongside his wife was one of his greatest wishes which came true in 2004. Inspired by their doting father and gauging their talent and enthusiasm, one can’t rule out the possibility of his daughters taking up writing as a career.


Usman Shirazi, Rasheed Shakoor, Munir-ul-Haq (Radio Pakistan) & (the late) Khalid H. Khan’s family members.