Legendary Pakistani writer icon Haseena Moin breathes her last at 79

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Legendary Pakistani writer and dramatist Haseena Moin has breathed her last in Karachi. She was 79 years old. Her family confirmed the demise Friday morning. Moin had been battling cancer for the past few years.

The funeral prayers of the literary icon will be held after Asar prayers in the Nazimabad area of Karachi.

On Monday last, Haseena Moin had received her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Arts Council of Pakistan. She thanked the Sindh government for the arrangements. Moin was perhaps one of the most celebrated playwrights and scriptwriters to come out of Pakistan and had several accolades under her belt.

News of her death rumbled on social media Friday morning as showbiz personalities and politicians paid tribute to the marvellous writer.

Haseena was born in the Indian city of Kanpur and received her early education in her ancestral region. She then moved to Karachi in the 1950s where she graduated from the Government College for Women and earned a Master of Arts in History from Karachi University in 1963.

She had written several plays for stage, radio, and television, some of the writings had gained international repute. She was also the recipient of the Pride of Performance award for her services to the performing arts in Pakistan.

She wrote Pakistan’s first original script ‘Kiran Kahani’ aired in the early 1970s. Some of the most popular dramas she wrote that gained international repute included Ankahi, Tanhaiyaan, Kiran Kahani, Dhoop Kinaray, Aahat, Uncle Urfi, Shehzori, Kohar, Des Pardes, Pal Do Pal, Aansoo, Kasak, Parchaiyan (1976) and Parosi. A web-series she wrote on breast cancer is scheduled to release next month.

 Haseena Moin was a breast cancer survivor. Other notable works included Mere Dard ko Jo Zuban Milay, Kaisa Yeh Junoon, Dhundle Raaste, Shayad ke Bahar Aaye, Mohim Joo, Tum Se Mil Kar, Bandish and Zer Zabar Paish.

Hassena Moin was also the one who introduced Zeba Bakhtiar to Raj Kapoor for the movie Henna, which Moin also wrote.  She was last seen in public at a Pakistan Day event at the Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi on March 23.

A day before that, she visited the Arts Council of Pakistan to get vaccinated against Covid-19.  Profile Haseena Moin was Pakistani dramatist, playwright and scriptwriter. She had written several plays for stage, radio and television, some of which have even gained international repute.

She was considered to be the best playwright and dramatist Pakistan has ever witnessed. Early lifeHaseena was born in Kanpur, the most populous city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on November 20, 1941, Haseena Moin received her early education in her ancestral region and, after the independence of Pakistan in 1947, migrated with her family to Pakistan.

She lived for a number of years in Rawalpindi, then moved to Lahore and, in the 1950s, settled in Karachi, where she graduated from the Government College for Women in 1960 and earned Master of Arts in History from Karachi University in 1963.

Her yearn for writing was visible right from the time she was in final years of her schooling, as from 7th standard, beside other school activities she got selected to write weekly column by the title of BHAI JAN for a local journal. Her fame started laying its foundation when she regularly wrote some memorable plays for Radio Pakistan Karachi’s all-time popular “Studio Number 9”.

Professionally, she took up the educational pursuits and start teaching. She rose to the level of Principal. It was in 1969 that Iftikhar Arif, Head of the Script Dept. at PTV-Karachi Centre, called Hasina and offered her to write a play for the then-forthcoming EID. Initially Hasina was nervous, but took courage to pen down a play.

The cast was also decided by her with Kunwar Aftab Ahmed as the director. Hence came Eid Ka Jorra with Neelofer Aleem and Talat Hussain in lead, supported by Khalid Nizami and Ishrat Hashmi. CareerPakistan TelevisionShe had penned down many successful and most famous plays of PTV like Shehzori, Zeir Zabr Peish, Uncle Urfi, Ankahi, Tanhaiyaan, Parchaieyen, Bandish, Dhund, Dhoop Kinarey, Aahat, Kasak, Pal Do Pal and Tere Ajane Se.

Her play Gurya which was directed by Shirin Khan with cast members Manzoor Qureshi, Shahla Ahmad Bina of Uncle Urfi, Azra Sherwani and Raju Jamil, won an award at the Global TV Plays Festival in Tokyo for best script and direction.

She was the writer of the first coloured drama of Pakistan, aired on PTV called Parchaiyan, which had a huge star cast and was directed by Mohsin Ali. She has also written Pakistan’s first original script ‘Kiran Kahani’ aired in the early-1970s. Before this PTV used to rely on novel based scripts.

Most of the people at that time were not confident with the experiment but it was Mohsin Ali who encouraged her to write and finally when the play was on air, it was a huge success and is remembered to date.

It starred Roohi Bano in the lead with Manzoor Qureshi, Begum Khursheed Mirza, Qazi Wajid and many more. Indian televisionHer drama serial Dhoop Kinare, which aired in 1987 and was famous in Pakistan as well as India. A loosely based remake of it was later made in India by the name of Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and it aired between 2011–2013.

It was rewritten by popular Indian writer Kamlesh Pandey, who stated that by remaking this play he has paid tribute to Haseena Moin. Even Tanhaiyan was quite popular. These shows are still remembered amongst the Indian masses.

She wrote a play for India called Tanha, which become widely popular during its run. She also wrote a play for Doordarshan called ‘Kash-m-kash’, Arshad Mahmood composed and Tina Sani sang the title song of the play.

Films Lollywood

Moin wrote the script for the 1978 film Yahan Se Wahan Tak, starring Waheed Murad. The film was produced and directed by Syed Kamal. She also wrote the dialogues for the 1986 film Nazdekiyan which was directed by Usman Peerzada, starring Samina Peerzada and Usman Peerzada.

The film was acclaimed and won prestigious national awards. In 1998, Moin wrote Kahin Pyar Na Ho Jaye. The film was directed by Javed Sheikh and the cast included Resham, Shaan and Saleem Sheikh. Before release, the film was heavily hyped and was expected to be a success but eventually could not perform well at the box office.


Moin was the first Pakistani writer to write for a Bollywood film. Raj Kapoor wanted her to write the dialogues for his dream project Henna, which was released in 1991. He also wanted to cast Shehnaz Sheikh in the title role of the film but after she refused, Haseena Moin recommended Zeba Bakhtiar as the leading lady, thus Zeba was cast in the title role of Henna. The film was a box office success and was also chosen as India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.


She had written every type of drama. From comedies like Shehzori, Uncle Urfi, Tanhaiyaan with best comic characters in her plays, like Mamoo, Timmy and Moby in Ankahi. Qabacha, Bukrad and Aapa Begum in Tanhaiyan, Gazi Apa in Uncle Urfi to tragedies like Parchaiyaan. From romantic dramas like Dhoop Kinaray, Ankahi,Kohar to family dramas like Aansoo. She has also written several plays based on social issues like the super hit Aahat, it was based on family planning and was directed by Sahira Kazmi, her play Des Pardes was based on the lives of people living Scotland and the problems they have to face. Chup Darya a telefilm starring Sania Saeed was based on Karachi’s conditions and Shayad ke Bahar Aye was based on Women rights. She has also written historic plays like Tansen, Meray Dard ko jo Zuban Mile and the recent Anjaane Nagar. Her other plays include Parosi, Pal do Pal, Kasak based on the life of a single parent, Dhundle Raaste and many more.

Recurring collaborators

DirectorsMany of Haseena’s plays have been directed by (late) Mohsin Ali. Starting from Haseena’s first play Shehzori to Mohsin’s last play Ik Naye Morr Pe, they have worked together in more than 10 plays.

Other directors with whom Haseena has repeatedly work include Shoaib Mansoor (his debut play Ankahi and the long play Dhundle Raaste), Sahira Kazmi (she directed Hasina’s two blockbuster plays Dhoop Kinare and Aahat and she directed her first play Choti Choti Baatein which was also written by Hasina, Sahira also acted in Haseena’s Parchaiyan, M Zaheer Khan (he directed several episodes of Zer Zabar Pesh, he also directed Kohar, Aania and the remake of Kiran Kahani, Shirin Khan directed some early plays of Haseena which include the all-time famous Uncle Urfi, Zer Zabar Pesh, Kiran Kahani and Gurya, Raana Sheikh (she directed Parosi, Shayad ke Bahar Aye and Kaisa Yeh Junoon), Ali Rizvi (he directed the famous Aansoo and Des Pardes as well as Meray Dard Ko Jo Zuban Mile).

Actors and actresses

Many actors and actresses have appeared in her plays frequently such as Qazi Wajid, Shakeel, Rahat Kazmi, Talat Hussain, Jamshed Ansari, Behroze Sabzwari, Asif Raza Mir, Neelofar Aleem, Roohi Bano, Shehnaz Sheikh (she has only done two plays in her career and both were by Haseena Moin and both were blockbusters), Marina Khan, Zeba Bakhtiar, Nadia Khan, Nadia Jamil, Sania Saeed, Badar Khalil (she worked in all the blockbuster plays of Hasina such as Ankahi, Tanhaiyan, Dhoop Kinare and Parosi), Azra Sherwani, Begum Kursheed Mirza, Ishrat Hashmi and Khalida Riyasat all have repeatedly worked with her in two plays or more.

One of the very senior actresses of both radio and television who brought life to many fiery characters like Ladli Begum in Zer-Zabar-Pesh and Mali Khala in Shehzori was Arsh-e-Munir.

No one talks about her but she is worth paying tribute to as artists like Begum Khusheed Mirza and Arsh-e-Munir brought culture and particularly the delivery of old Urdu proverbs and idioms (kahawatain; Mahaware) by means of dialogue in such a beautiful manner that people got the exact picture of what old ladies used to be like in the early 20th century. The mention of child stars are also very important.

Recent work

Her drama serial Saare Mausam Apne Hain aired on Geo TV in late 2012. The drama was directed by Ali Rizvi. Also Meri Behan Maya another play by Moin began aired from 17 September 2012 to 11 January 2013 on Geo TV.

It was directed by Azfer Ali. The audience appreciated the story and the love shown between the sisters was immensely liked. Annie Jafry was also appreciated for her performance as Maya.

A serial titled Anjaane Nagar started airing on TV ONE from May 2013. It was a period play set in 1939 and was shot at beautiful locations in Murree and the Northern Areas. It was directed by veteran director Khawaja Najam ul Hassan.

 It received critical acclaim upon its release. An Eid telefilm titled Ooper Gori Ka Makaan aired from Express Entertainment in 2013. The telefilm was a romantic comedy and was directed by Yasir Nawaz. The cast included Neelam Munir and Junaid Khan in the lead roles. Her serial Mohabbat Ho Gai Tumse, a story of four friends aired from TV ONE in August 2015. It was directed by the channel’s chairperson Seema Taher Khan and starred Adnan Siddiqui, Deeba Naz, Zhalay Sarhadi, Azfer Rehman and Hira Tareen in lead roles.

Awards and achievements

Haseena had visited many countries and won numerous awards, including the Pride of Performance Award in 1987 for her services to the performing arts in Pakistan it is one of the highest civil awards conferred by the Pakistan Government.

She had won many other awards including the Woman of the year award. In 1975 she also won an award at the Global TV Plays Festival in Tokyo for best script and direction for her play Gurya. She had won accolades at nearly every year’s Lux Style Awards as well as PTV Awards, during the late 80s Moin Akhtar gave a tribute to her at PTV awards ceremony.

She had also appeared in many talk shows such as Anwar Maqsood’s LG TV SHOW and Marina Mornings and many other numerous morning shows and chat shows. Most recently she appeared in The Big Show on CNBC alongside another legendary writer Fatima Surayya Bajia. In 1982 she was given a tribute by Anwar Maqsood in his show.

 Legendary actors and directors like Shakeel, Jamshed Ansari, Javed Sheikh, Mohsin Ali, Shoaib Mansoor, Mahmood Masood, Saleem Nasir, Behroze Sabzwari, Shehnaz Sheikh, Begum Khursheed Mirza, Badar Khalil, Neelofar Aleem were present to acknowledge her efforts.

In November 2012 she was given a tribute by Karachi Arts Council called ‘Aitraaf e Kamal – Haseena Moin’.

Many people like Fatima Surayya Bajia, Sahira Kazmi, Sakina Samoo, Sajid Hassan, Iqbal Ansari were present to acknowledge her immense contribution to Pakistani dramas for the last four decades.

Politics and other work

With the increasing popularity of Imran Khan’s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf many famous people including Haseena Moin had joined this political party.

Haseena Moin was also seen endorsing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf during the 2013 elections alongside Hina Khawaja Bayat, Humayun Saeed, Ayesha Omer, Rubina Ashraf and others.

She had also been partially active in taking interviews of different personalities at some occasions.