It was almost a week after Ali Azmat’s father — Nazir Ahmed, popularly known as Butt sahib — passed away. Ali Azmat – his son performed to a packed house at the Karachi Arts Council before the play Aangan Terrha. According to sources within Ali’s family, Butt sahib had been suffering from lung complications and had been on the ventilator for some time.
Ali’s father was a middle-class businessman who lived in the humble area of Garhi Shahu. Ali had been taking care of his parents for quite some time and is said to have been very close to his father. “He was very close to his parents in general,” a family friend told the media. “He took care of his father and took his parents wherever he lived, including Karachi. He is not the spoiled rock star that people make him out to be,” he added.
The last thing you would expect before a play like Angan Terrha is an Ali Azmat performance; but Ali is one of those performers who can force the most sophisticated of audiences to lighten up and enjoy his music.
The short and melodious performance kicked off with Yaaron Yahi Dosti Hai as guitarist Omran Shafique and base player Kamran Mannu Zafar set the right groove with Qaiser Zain ul Abedin providing the beats. During his performance, Ali gave a message to Karachiites. “I love the way Karachites have gathered here today,” he said. “This city shall come to life again…all the forces willing to divide us will realize that we are a single and united nation.” He proceeded with the classic number Sayeen that gave the crowd something to tap its feet to, but also brought tears to Ali’s eyes. He said, “Life is uncertain and short, so live and enjoy it as much as you can, love each other and never let go”, reflecting how his recent loss has affected him.
The late Butt sahib was not just a father figure but someone to look up to for Ali’s friends. They recall the late Butt sahib’s sense of humour and wit.