January 20, 2024

Aqeel Memon lived and died peacefully


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Aqeel Memon, the energetic wicketkeeper-batsman of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), may have played just a handful of first-class matches in a long career but he remained extremely popular in the cricket circles due to his gentle mannerism and apolitical nature. Sadly, the gentleman-cricketer is no more. 

He had gone to sleep at his usual hours, even though it was a weekend, but couldn’t wake up the following morning on January 15. A cardiac patient, having suffered a couple of massive heart-attacks earlier, there were hardly any symptoms lately but, as a few of his close friends had realized, he was living on borrowed time. He was 63. 

My last meeting with him had taken place barely a few weeks ago. In fact, he had reconfirmed my cell number as he planned to organize a meetup of cricket friends in the presence of one of his former colleagues at PIA Sports department, Faiz-ul-Hasan, who was coming from USA. 

Aqeel stayed very close to Aziz Memon, the famed entrepreneur and social figure, who’s his cousin. He used to visit the Kings Group head office in Clifton, Karachi, regularly and it was always pleasure to talk to him on matters relating to cricket, which was very dear to his heart. 

Talking about heart, this particular organ of the body was his nemesis as well as of his entire family. His father had perished at the age of 48 due to heart failure while his elder brother breathed his last at the age of 52, also because of cardiac arrest. Despite this family history, Aqeel survived little longer probably due to his athleticism. 

Aziz Memon recalled the moments in the late 1970s when he had introduced Aqeel to the PIA officials who were conducting trials for selecting their Colts outfit, a brainchild of the legendary commentator and writer, Omer Kureishi, who worked there as Director. The PIA selectors were impressed with Aqeel’s skillset behind the stumps and he was chosen in the squad, alongwith Anil Dalpat.

“Aqeel had passion for cricket since childhood and after coming to know about the trials for PIA Colts team he sought my assistance and guidance. The great Omer Kureishi had confided to me that this lad indeed had the talent which itself was quite a compliment in my estimation,” Aziz Memon shared in a brief chat with PNFS.

Another labour of love of Aqeel was the formation of Tapal Cricket Club, which he founded in collaboration with a few like-minded of his like Amin Merchrant, who was later elected at Secretary of the Karachi Club more than one time. Tapal CC, whose primary focus was grooming talented youngsters, has remained one of the leading cricket clubs of Karachi for quite a few decades. 

A large number of Aqeel’s colleagues and contemporaries, including Shoaib Mohammad, Faisal Iqbal and Sajid Khan, have condoled his death on various social media platforms. He has been hailed as a gem of a person who was helpful and trustworthy all along. 

The compliments are so richly deserved because he lived a simple life and was never found engaged in any kind of politicking on or off the field, a rare attribute when confronted by challenges of all kinds. He didn’t believe in harming anyone and neither did he like to become a party to intrigues.

1 comment

Abdul Hamid, CEO BRMG said...

Inna lillah wa inna illahe rajeoon. Allah pak maghfarat fermaen. AMEEN

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