The services of these legends have been recognized even by heads of state and government from time to time.Only two legends of this generation i.e. Shaista Zaid and Riaz Ahmed Khan were attached with the broadcasting world while others stood expired or retired.
However,in February 2011, Riaz Ahmed Khan also expired sending a wave of shock and grief more to his colleagues than his own family. Born on April 16, 1937, Riaz Ahmed Khan joined Central News Organisation [currently PBC News] as English Newsreader in December 1970 and superannuated in the same capacity in April 1997. However, it was his passion for news reading that he kept on reading PBC news bulletins even after retirement till his confinement to bed in November 2010.
When I joined PBC on November 16, 1974 as a daily wager, Riaz Ahmed Khan was among the few seniors who greatly encouraged me.
Those days, he would call me ‘young boy’. Despite my transfer to Central Monitoring Wing of the PBC in 1979, I used to listen to “The news read by Riaz Ahmed Khan” because of his excellent command over English language and its intonation. He had attained faultless pronunciation, unique style of delivery of words, correct stresses and pauses, brilliant news sense and the required confidence to meet emergent situation that arise so often in the broadcasting world. The recording of his opening announcement of PBC’s English news bulletins remained a permanent feature over the years. Besides PBC, Riaz Ahmed Khan offered his services to many government organizations as a background voice [BG voice]. These included some defense organizations, Inter-Services Public Relations (documentaries for Kashmir Cell), Pakistan Television (commentary background and coaching of English newscasters),presidency 23rd March prestigious investiture ceremonies (1978 to 1996), and many other private organizations. He also performed coaching of PBC English newscasters throughout his career and even after his retirement.
On my transfer back to PBC News in 2004, Riaz Ahmed Khan was the first to welcome me but this time, I was no longer a ‘young man’ but a ‘prince’ for him. He frequently lauded what I had gained by the time appreciated my style of editing.
He never altered the words in news bulletins until and unless he consulted the editor concerned. He used to repeatedly rehearse the news bulletins. He repeatedly discussed ambiguities and confusions and particularly focused on names of foreign dignitaries and places. Throughout his illustrious career, Riaz Ahmed Khan showed up more than one hour before the scheduled time of his news bulletins, and performed his job diligently no matter what the weather conditions were – thunderstorms,chilling cold nights or scorching heat. Weather never stopped him from performing his duty on time and with punctuality. Riaz Ahmed Khan was a great human being also.
He would frequently host Iftari and feasts in office (a colleague told me that Riaz Ahmed Khan himself cooked the same). He was loved and respected by all. Unfortunately, he had developed heart problem but even then he was coming to office for the news daily till November 2010. Even then he was in an anxiety to carry on his news bulletin on air. And on February 27, 2011, he breathed his last at Shifa International, Islamabad. May Almighty Allah rest his soul in eternal peace!
Writer Mahmood Riazuddin is a friend of Riaz Ahmad Khan