Remembering the man: The lesser known side of Salmaan Taseer

Published: January 5, 2011

Friends and colleagues recall his art collection and sense of humour.

LAHORE: If you enter Salmaan Taseer’s residence in Lahore, the first thing that you would come across is calligraphy paintings on the front wall. Next to them hangs a masterpiece by one of Pakistan’s best artists Saeed Akhter.

The house is unique in more than one way and speaks volumes about his artistic taste. You name a renowned artist and Taseer will be sure to have his work in the collection. Sadiquain, Gulgee, Shakir Ali are a few names whose rare and classic works find a prominent space in his collection. His three houses in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore all have one thing in common: art collections.

“Salmaan Taseer had a rare gift to admire and enjoy art. He will be the only governor in our history who had around 300 cartoon sketches of his own that newspapers had published over time. I got all those sketches framed and he joyfully showed them to his personal guests and friends,” one of his personal staff officers told The Express Tribune.

“Salmaan Taseer smoked Cuban cigars and was very fond of expensive glasses. He would not care much about his dressing but would be very careful in choosing glasses. Mostly he lunched at the same restaurant and didn’t mind mixing with people there,” he said.

Another official at the Punjab Governor House said: “He was very fond of driving and mostly travelled in his personal Mercedes. He had travelled across the country while driving himself.”

“Salmaan Taseer was a very down-to-earth person. He didn’t change a bit after assuming the office of governor and had no airs about him,” said Ishtiaque Asif, a businessman and one of Taseer’s old friends. “He did a lot of charitable work but never publicised it. He was very humane, tolerant and a visionary who will be missed,” Asif added.

Salmaan Taseer was the son of Dr MD Taseer, who is said to be the sub-continent’s first PhD in English Literature from England. His father was a friend of Allama Iqbal’s while his mother and Alys Faiz, wife of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, were sisters.

“I couldn’t get admission to the Aitchison College, Lahore, because I didn’t have enough money. Now I am the chairman of its board of governors,” Taseer had once said in an interview when asked about his struggles in life.

It is presumed that Taseer was assassinated for his stance on the blasphemy laws. Jamaat-e-Islami’s former chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad said: “Taseer’s murder is extremely regrettable and condemnable. This shows the intolerance in our society”.

Akbar Naqi, a close aide of Taseer who has been serving on key posts in business organisations run by him, said, “He was a very large-hearted person. He had the courage to face criticism without reacting. Salmaan saheb was a very enlightened, lively and brave person who didn’t budge an inch from his stance when he knew he was right.”

“The government should conduct a judicial inquiry of the incident at once. The truth should come forward,” said former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri.

Prominent achievements

1994: Established First Capital Securities Corporation, a full service brokerage house

1995: Established Worldcall, considered the pioneer group in the private telecommunications sector

2002: Established Daily Times, an English-language daily newspaper

2004-05: Established Business Plus, the country’s first business and news channel

2010: Launched Zaiqa television channel

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Riaz Khan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 9:36AM

    A very sad day! My heart is bleeding.Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2011 - 10:40AM

    why positive thing is published after his death . he was CA in the age 22 . In his life media always produce him as ” bad man ” . he was like typical ppp work who always took a position on a issues and speak with his mind . ppp not stand behind him his thought was near to BB Recommend

  • Sabir Shah Hoti
    Jan 5, 2011 - 11:11AM

    In every human being there are many qualities but only a single(big) mistake sunk his all good deeds…. Recommend

  • Sher Khan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Amazing man!Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2011 - 12:26PM

    its norm of our society to speak good about the deceased persons but when he has been among us we don’t bother to even remind his any single good deed,although Taseer was not good in all respect and he could not be because of many limitations,one of those is being human,then being politician and then being the part of ruling party..

    lets start thinking on this ,,should speak goods about bads to identify the net outcomeRecommend

  • Rizwan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:00PM

    Well Said Perviaz !!!!!

    This is something we all need to think over , as when ever we face some lost. We are thinking over positive side .. before that we never look at positive , Our media has never showed things . We are always see the darker side . I dont know when as nation we will lead our minds.Recommend

  • SJ
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:25PM

    Quite a sad picture…feeling sad even as “Pakistan” as a country fails in its morality to question, Salman Taseer questioned …. he was killed, so in a nutshell “When you cant question…you cant generate new ideas…when you cant generate new ideas…you cant change…when you cant change…degreadation takes over”. This applies to people, economy and countries even.

    Mr.Jinnah would have cried looking the current state of “Pakistan”.Recommend

  • Tariq S Butt
    Jan 5, 2011 - 3:45PM

    It is sad day indeed. The act was unjustified. This will mean tomorrow if I say something about the unjustices meted to people due to certain law, I will be punished to death. This is wrong.

    I think the person who murdered Mr. Taseer should be punished along with all those who encourage him to kill him. This include all the Maulvis and Mufis who in the name of Islam created this intolerance. The prophet in his life never punish anyone for not accepting him as prophet or those who did not accept his message. I remember that he visited the lady who use to spill dirt on him. How come we cant follow him rather following the people who may not be muslims in the eyes of God. A very sorry state of our country.

    God bless Pakistan as we are taking charge of God’s Work. Something he will never assign to human.Recommend

  • Fahad Gilani
    Jan 5, 2011 - 3:58PM

    Sad Story!Recommend

  • Jan 5, 2011 - 4:03PM

    i am afraid of that time in future when every voice against mullah’s alliance vl b considered as taseer’s voice and within no time,it’ll b eliminated . till the time our islam is bound by the courtesy of mullha’s,we r going to face these conditions in any way!
    RIP taseer, u did not deserve this country..Recommend

  • Faisal Hussain
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:56PM

    Governor Taseer:s Murder is Sad, Tragic & Cruel…………… no words to mourn his death. may allah bless him with peace. Recommend

  • Talha
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Cool guy, I always liked him for his achievments and his sense of reality.

    I admire him for his conviction, hardwork, success and his great deeds.Recommend

  • Scorpian
    Jan 5, 2011 - 5:14PM

    “Actions speaks louder than Words”..

    Salman Taseer did nothing special for Pakistan, wordly speeches does’nt make sense at all .. He was in a position to take action against the blasphemy of our beloved Prophet PBUH but he didn’t take any single step.Recommend

  • Scorpian
    Jan 5, 2011 - 5:18PM

    A moral storyRecommend

  • optimistic
    Jan 5, 2011 - 8:16PM

    well no one can presumed about such incidence and that too with Salman Taseer , he was a witty person and i am sure now rana sana ullah and PMLN would miss his witty remarks Recommend

  • Anoop
    Jan 6, 2011 - 1:31AM

    You guys should check International Newspapers. The fact that so many in Pakistan are supporting the killer is being highlighted.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703675904576063581434623072.html?mod=WSJWorldMIDDLENewsIntl#articleTabs=articleRecommend

  • Imtiaz
    Jan 6, 2011 - 6:01AM

    Unfortunately Qazi sahib this intolerance is being spread by whom?Recommend

  • sikandar
    Jan 6, 2011 - 1:47PM

    Sabir Shah Hoti “what big one mistake did he make in your view” My God what is happening in Pakistan

    Are there no sane persons. Pardon all those who really post good pieces, I am sure most of us are NRPs or residing abroad.Recommend

  • Sheikh Sarmad
    Jan 6, 2011 - 4:22PM

    Jinhoon ishq karan da cha
    sir dhar tali gali meri aa——-Baba FaridRecommend

  • Xari
    Jan 7, 2011 - 6:46PM

    What is infuriating is the fact that those who stood up against Pakistan, and the secular mind set of Jinnah, are the ones who are today ruling this country. why are they even here? Why are they given so much importance? Why cant we just tell them to shut up???

    Its not so much them as it is us, because society is affected by their rantings and screamings. If Muslims are threatened about Islam, then they should feel it within themselves, not be driven somewhere else just because a gruop of people is causing religious guilt to them. Muslims should be individually strong so that they dont have to do all this only in order to ‘preserve’ their faith. the faith isnt being preserved the way they want it anyway.Recommend

  • Imran Habib
    Jan 7, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Cool guy, I always liked him for his achievments and his sense of reality.

    I admire him for his conviction, hardwork, success and his great deeds.Recommend

  • kashif ali rajper
    Jan 8, 2011 - 2:26PM

    a great man indeed, who dared to speak the truth, while the true version of islam also states that the best form of jihad is to speak the truth within the most cruel system which he certainly did. tribute to the true mujahid.Recommend

  • Waseef Ch
    Jan 8, 2011 - 8:07PM

    The murder of Taseer was resultant of multiplexity of our society , which always reacts late, No body in the media or any of the politician have the courage to condemn the brutal act of murderer. Now adding fuel to fire, he is treated as Gazi Ilam Din. Can any one tell, what was the Sin of Taseer, is he ever commit Blasphemy ? . The only wrong doing from him is that, he never bother to clarify himself. I consider every cleric who alleged Salman Taseer for Blasphemy , as his murderer, and I do not know how they will escape from the hand of nature………..

    We have again lost a Gem of PersonRecommend

  • mohammad ali
    Jan 26, 2011 - 11:58AM

    why ur heart bleeding, u didnt see how he insulted islam by drinking wine on board,saying the Law declaring qadyanis non muslims must be changed, u plz read the book written by his son from his hindu/sikh wife tavleen sing.Recommend

  • naeem
    Jan 28, 2011 - 10:32AM

    typical Pakistani thinker (so-called) knowing fully what further course of action has to be taken (Asiaa case) as per land of law.spoke feeded tongue of others.lesson for other puppet thinkers.Recommend

  • salman
    Jan 29, 2011 - 1:29AM

    M A JINNAH’s Pak is losing , Mullah s Pak is gaining . Recommend

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