The perfect host

[Singaporean journalism students Sharifah Fadhilah Alshahab, Claire Chin Jing Yi and Tang Hui Huan with Murtaza in Karachi, April 2012.]

When we finally felt the summer heat, our landlord said it rains twice a year in Karachi. Yet, the day Murtaza Razvi died, it rained twice.

And while the sky wept over his passing, my mind played scenes from the times we spent with him. There was always laughter in those memories. He would crack a string jokes as casually and naturally as a person would breathe.

The first stop I made after I landed was his house. The first bed I slept in for 10 hours after a long and tiring time passing through clouds was the one in his house. Words fail to describe the generosity and hospitality he and his family so readily extended to us.

While he remained frank and candid about the dangers of being in Pakistan and added his legendary humor in his words of caution, he exuded fearlessness and composure that always assured us.

I didn’t know Murtaza as well as I would have loved to. I just assumed we would have time for intellectual conversations over cups of chai later. I just assumed we would have the time to agree to disagree after we’ve exhausted our points later. But later never came.

Sharifah Fadhilah Alshahab is a journalism student at the Wee Kim Wee School, NTU, interning at the Dawn newspaper group.

Remembering Murtaza 1964-2012

Murtaza Razvi, AJF Class of 2009, was killed in Karachi on 19 April 2012. He was a senior editor and columnist with the Dawn group. He leaves behind his wife, Shahrezad, and daughters Maya, Priya and Dina, to whom we offer our deepest condolences. This special issue of the AJF newsletter is devoted to his memory.