Renowned TV comedian, stage actor, writer and director Liaquat Ali ‘Soldier’ died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He had just completed work at the SAMAA TV office in Karachi and was on his way home when he suffered the attack. He breathed his last on the way to the hospital.
The 58-year old started his career from Adamjee Hall in 1973. Soldier worked with many famous personalities, including Moin Akhtar, Furqan Haider, Umer Sharif, Hanif Raja and Shahzad Raza in more than 250 plays. Besides working for plays and theatre, Soldier also worked in the film ‘Baraf’.
Furqan Haider, Soldier’s friend and co-actor, told The Express Tribune that Liaquat was not just a good actor but a “humble, good person”. “He started from a low-income background and was [especially] kind to poor people.”
Haider expressed sorrow over the death and called it “a big loss to the world of comedy dramas”.
Another of Soldier’s friends, Afzal Qadri, recalled his witty nature. “He was very hard working. He worked for a number of Pakistani TV channels, including Geo TV, SAMAA, Dhoom TV, Metro, Hum TV and ARY. He also worked in the US, Dubai and South Africa,” Qadri said.
Soldier’s unusual last name was given to him by his friend Nazar Hussain, a stage artist. Soldier belonged to the Marwari clan which hails from Gujarat.
Soldier is survived by his wife, daughter Fatima and three sons, Umer Khayam, Ali Khayam and Abdullah Khayam. His funeral prayers were offered at Badami Masjid, Ranchore Lines after Isha. He was buried at the Mewa Shah graveyard.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2011.