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‘Neelam Ghar’ host Tariq Aziz passes away

TV show host, actor and politician Tariq Aziz passed away on Wednesday at the age of 84 in Lahore. He was best known for the quiz show Neelam Ghar on PTV which was later renamed The Tariq Aziz Show (1997) and later Bazm-e-Tariq Aziz (2006).

Aziz was diabetic and according to his wife, he was taken to the hospital in the morning after he complained about feeling ill.

Aziz was born on April 28, 1936 and received his early education in Sahiwal, according to a profile on PTV. His first job was with Radio Pakistan (Lahore).

Aziz was part of the inaugural team of presenters of PTV on the first day of its transmission on November 26, 1964. The first day of TV transmission in Pakistan comprised of: a quiz show hosted by Ashfaq Ahmed, a song by Tufail Niazi and a long play starring Qavi Khan and Mehnaz Rafi. The announcements were made by Aziz and Kanwal Naseer.

He also acted in 42 films from 1968 to 1988. Around 33 of the films were in Urdu and the rest were in Punjabi, including a supporting role Insaniyat along with Zeba and Waheed Murad, and Haar Gaya Insaan.

After a career in films, Aziz decided to return to TV with Neelam Ghar in 1974 . His tagline: “Yeh water cooler aap ka hua” became an instant hit.

Neelam Ghar was one of the first general knowledge quiz shows in the country with a mass following. The format was quite simple: a selected audience member would after specific questions for extravagant prizes. The show also brought in major commercial sponsorship like Hitachi.

Aslam Azhar, who was in charge of PTV at the time, designed the programme after some game shows with mass prizes on American TV channels.

Aziz was also actively involved in politics. He was a member of the National Assembly in the late 90s.

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