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Exclusive interview with a veteran journalist Saqib Riaz

Exclusive interview with a veteran journalist and a University Professor who kicked off his career in journalism with his exceptional article, “Why Babri Mosque was demolished in India and how much this tragic incident affected Hindu Muslim Relationship in the Sub-Continent.”

Last week Speakbindas special correspondent Zahid Gishkori had the opportunity to visit Dr. Professor Saqib Riaz of  (AIOU) Islamabad (Pakistan).

Saqib Riaz special pose for Speakbindas

Saqib Riaz special pose for Speakbindas

The visit had been prearranged several days earlier. When I reached there I expected to find his host less likely to be in a mood for divulging his secrets about teaching. But nothing could have been further from the truth!

It was an unusually hot day! As I swilled down the gin, all becoming slightly tipsy, the interview began. I marveled at the actual office and University room in which Dr Saqib Riaz sits: a special structure attached via a breezeway to the rear of his garage. He spoke to me with warm memories of that exciting past.


Speakbindas: I would like to know first, how you got started teaching Journalism in AIOU and why you do this thing in the first place!

Saqib: Maybe there are certain things which are innate in certain people and that for one reason I found teaching to be the most fulfilling part of the journalistic business. I think there was an ego trip in my teaching style.

Speakbindas: You became known as the teacher in Islamabad to come to if you wanted to learn from scratch.

Saqib: Well, that’s the side that I didn’t know was going on. I just did my thing and I just thought my student clientele grew only because I was doing for them what they needed.

The ego trip came in greater awards: seeing my students’ progress rather than my playing progress. So I think that was a part of the reason for the success in the teaching that I was there when they needed me.

Speakbindas: How did you actually come to teach journalism after spending so much time as a working journalist?

Saqib: Well, I realized first of all, that I had a great number of students. Then I had the opportunity to teach in AIOU a decade ago so I joined it. I taught all day Saturday, all day Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and then even at universities I’d stay on for a couple hours every day.

Speakbindas: What kind of education did you have?

Saqib: I have my bachelors’ degree from Government Asghar Mall College Rawalpindi in 1987. Then I moved to Punjab University for masters in Mass Communication. Then I joined daily Pakistan as well as I got my teaching credential in various universities.

Speakbindas: Why you joined media there?

Saqib: I joined media because the issue of Babri Mosque shocked me so much i.e. I joined media to raise voice of Muslims in India for justice.

He also recalled some sentences of newspapers relevant to this tragedy: Babri Mosque incident made fragile the secular bubble that Indian prides itself upon; it was assiduously exploited for crass political purposes by the BJP to garner the Hindu majority vote. The movie Slumdog Millionaire which depicts the cruel treatment of the mass poverty-stricken Muslims of India is going to win many Hollywood Oscar awards next month.”

Dr. Saqib Riaz with a colleague in his office

Dr. Saqib Riaz with a colleague in his office

Speakbindas: Who are your favourite in journalistic field?

Saqib: Dr Professor Miskeen Hijazi (late) who was also the former Chairman of Mass Communication Department at University of Punjab was my favourite journalist. But I can not forget Maulana Maududi (late), a veteran scholar of the Sub-Continent adding that I will always work at the beck and call of my teachers.

Speakbindas: As a first student who awarded the degree of Ph.D from Mass Communication Department of AIOU, how do you feel?

Saqib: Fantastic! That really makes my heart feel good because I never thought so. But my tuning was outstanding, the pitch was perfect, you can put any kind of bloom on there and sound real in teaching of journalism!

Speakbindas: What else did you do with him?

Saqib: I loved and understand the importance of Urdu literature. I read Urdu literature but my emphasis was on journalistic language. I got better in the last couple of years because I’ve been teaching journalistic theory at University since years.

I had the piano type method in the cramped space of the little den where I taught and I was used to accompanying the students on everything. But when I moved out to the more spacious studio I got out of the habit of doing it and it kind of got away from me.

Speakbindas: Tell us more about your studies with Dr Professor Miskeen Ali Hijazi.

Saqib: Well, I conducted my Ph. D Research on “Agenda setting Role of Print Media in Pakistan” under the supervision of Mr Hijazi.

Speakbindas: Can you tell us about Prof James Kelly who post some comments on your research work of Ph.D?

Saqib: Well, he is a nice guy who encourages me and wrote about me: “I Mr James have reviewed several dissertations from South Asian countries but this is the best of them.”

Speakbindas: Please tell us about awards and honors during your professional career.

Dr. Saqib Riza with Speakbindas Correspondent Zahid Gishkori

Dr. Saqib Riza with Speakbindas Correspondent Zahid Gishkori

Saqib: I have been several times awarded from national and international organizations especially I would count the award of International School of Journalism in Berlin Germany.

Speakbindas: Now tell us about your family.

Saqib: My wife Dr Rukhsana Naheed is a Medical Officer serving for Women Development Ministry in Pakistan. My son Talha Saqib and two daughters’ Tehniyat Saqib and Warda Saqib are studying in the local institutions of federal capital.

Speakbindas: How you know about this online magazine and anything you wish to say about it?

Saqib: Very first I want to appreciate Speakbindas’ Editor who introduced such magazine and hired various correspondents across the world. Secondly I would appreciate the role of its Pakistani correspondent who always tried its level best to promote this magazine readership.


The writer is Islamabad based Speakbindas Special Correspondent and also served for several national and international newspapers. He may be reached: zahidgishkori@gmail.com


Posts by SpeakBindas Editorial Team.

7 thoughts on “Exclusive interview with a veteran journalist Saqib Riaz

  1. I do appreciate what Dr Saqib in doing in the development of journalism in Pakistan and India. I know him as my classmate at the International Institute of Journalism in Berlin-2005. for me I call him “A MADALA IN THE FIELD OF JOURNALISM” simply means as an uncle in the field of journalism. I learnt one thing from him while we were in Berlin together and that thing is non rather than being humble.

    Dr. Saqib, please continue working hard and share your vast knowledge concerning journalism to other people.

    May the only and living God bless and protect you all the time.

  2. Nazakat Hussain says:

    Dear Zahid,

    I really like your interview. I am Public Relations practitioner and working for Xenith Public Relations (Pvt) Limited.

    I would like to meet Dr. Saqib in his office seeking professional guidence. Journalism is very challenging field.

  3. Shahid Hussain says:

    Hi Zahid,

    I am pleased to see such a nice and excellent effort. Being a teacher of Mass Communication, I am really very happy to see you doing the best. The questtionare and language of the interview are up to the mark. Wish you best of luck.

    Just keep it up.

    Thanks a lot…

  4. Aman Ullah says:

    I am realy appriciated to Mr. Saqib Riaz and also Speakbindas Correspondent Zahid Gishkori. Mr. Saqib Riaz is my teacher and i am so happy and thankful to God that A very honest and nice teacher give me. May God help you and your family and also Correspondent Zahid Gishkori. Well Done.

  5. Asad Munir Bhatti says:

    Being a blessed student of Dr. Saqib Riaz, it was a delight to know about different aspects of his life, efficiently covered by Zahid Gishkori. Its a fruitful effort which stands praiseworthy. May Almighty bless Dr. Saqib with the best of health, knowledge and perfection and may he live long. I still have to learn alot from him.

  6. Syeda Aysha Bokhari says:

    Dr. Saqib Raiz, infect, really a great asset for all the students of Mass Communication, bestowed with excellent research capabilities and sound concepts of his domain. To seek guidance from such a iconic personality of mass media research, is a proud for everyone and I feel proud to be his student. Best of luck for your Post-doc sir


    Dr.Saqib sab is one of my favourit teacher i have met in my life, he is really cooperative and sincere, we are missing him now a days, I wish you good luck sir, may you live long and get success in life…

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