Axis of Logic
Finding Clarity in the 21st Century Mediaplex

Remembering Shahid R. Siddiqi, Axis of Logic Columnist. (Updated)
By Les Blough with contributions by Paul Richard Harris. Axis of Logic.
Axis of Logic
Monday, Feb 28, 2011

Shahid R. Siddiqi (1942-2011)

"The one dies into the many ... and the many die into the one."

When someone we love dies, it is difficult to speak of them in the past tense because they still remain with us. So it is with Shahid R. Siddiqi who crossed over on February 22, 2011. Shahid was our teacher, sometimes our student, always our loyal friend and confidant, our fellow traveler, sharing the path on this brief pilgrimage. He will continue to be all of these things for us.

Our work together

As a teacher, it was his gentle spirit that allowed him to patiently and carefully use facts and analysis to unravel complicated issues about Pakistan and the surrounding region. He calmly explained things, never ranting or resorting to ad hominem remarks to explain or emphasize his views.

As a good soldier, Shahid fought skillfully and bravely against our common enemies, sometimes leading the way, sometimes at our side, never faltering or falling behind, unless it was to take our back. The weapons he accumulated were his native intelligence, his ability to make things clear with words alone, his gentleness and his honesty.

In our writer-editor relationship one of us often paused to ask the other about how we could better clarify our thoughts through our words. Writing skillfully is one thing, knowing what is important and relevant to write at any given time is another. Shahid always concurred with our view of the latter and the Axis of Logic mission.

The last article Shahid wrote just a few days before his death was among his best. Two days earlier, I wrote to him and asked him if he’d be interested in writing something about Raymond Davis, the CIA agent who murdered two Pakistani men. It turned out he was a step ahead of me and had already completed his article.

He was quite aware of the country's failings and the dangers it faces, but he was equally able to identify what is positive. Most important, his incisive mind was able to tear through the rhetoric to reach the issues clearly. He understood the dangers inherent in Pakistan's relations with its neighbours, as well as the crucial geographic setting that makes the country attractive to outside forces. But he never lost sight of what his country did right and wrong, and which outside players created potential threats.

At this critical time in history, his was and continues to be a voice that the world needs to hear.

Shahid’s articles always received a vigorous response from our readers. Many were grateful, thanking him and us for new information, encouragement and hope. He also had his share of enemies who sometimes wrote angry, hateful comments. Shahid always replied, but always gently and never in kind.

Shahid’s Professional Life

Shahid R. Siddiqi began his career in the Pakistan Air Force, and later joined the private sector where he worked in senior management positions in Pakistan, United States, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. He held two Masters degrees in Chemistry and English Literature. He later worked as a broadcaster and remained the Islamabad bureau chief of an English weekly magazine, Pakistan & Gulf Economist, published from Karachi (Pakistan). In the U.S., he co-founded the Asian American Republican Club in Maryland in 1994 to encourage the participation of Asian Americans in the mainstream political process. Most recently, he was a freelance writer on political and geopolitical issues and his articles were carried by the daily newspapers Dawn and The Nation (in Pakistan), the German magazine, Globalia and online publications such as Axis of Logic, Foreign Policy Journal and Middle East Times.

Shahid as a Friend

We’ve all heard it said that, at any time in our lives, we can count our true friends only on one hand. Through working together and sharing details of our personal lives, Shahid became such a friend for me.

Along the path we shared, sometimes the burden got a little heavy and like good friends, one would take some of the weight, offering a few words of encouragement.

He visited the United States last year, intending to stay with me in Venezuela for a short while before returning home. But due to demands on him in Pakistan he had to return home and he was unable to come here. So I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting my friend face-to-face before he had to make his final journey.

Shahid and his Family

Shahid is survived by his wife and daughter in Pakistan and his other children and grandchildren living in other countries. He loved his family dearly, as a good father and husband. When sharing details of our lives, he often wrote proudly of his children, their achievements and their “inner beauty.” Recently, he wrote to me:

“Yes life is so much more interesting with children and grand children around you. I have three grand children in -------, where my elder daughter lives and two in ----- where the younger one lives. These two are visiting here these days. The elder one (4 years) wants to me to take him to McDonald's and the younger one (1+) demands a chocolate when they both see me. And that gives me joy beyond measure.”

Shahid is survived by his wife, Rifat Siddiqui, his children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews who loved him dearly. Faisal writes:

"I really appreciate your kind words and warm wishes for us all. He was a beloved husband and a great father who spent his life working hard and achieving his goals and providing the best for his family. He was a very charismatic, intellectual patriotic man and a mentor for all of us in every aspect of our lives. As simply as I can put it 'My Father My Hero'.”

And Shumaila, Faisal, Nadia & Tanya write,

"Thank you so much for sharing all what you knew about our father. It was very heartfelt and comforting to know that he is remembered and missed by his acquaintances and friends as fondly as us. We all wish he was here with us today but although he is no longer around us, but his presence will always remain in our hearts and we will cherish the moments spent with him for all of time. May his soul rest in peace. Amen."  (see Reader Comments below)

Faisal has kindly provided us with the names of everyone in Shahid's family as follows:





Shumaila Khan

Nauman Khan

Zuhair Khan (Grandson)
Amenah Khan (Granddaughter)
Raafay Khan (Grandson)


Faisal Siddiqui

Tazeen Rehman


Nadia Siddiqui

Aman Talib

Zain Talib (Grandson)
Saad Talib (Grandson)


Tanya Siddiqui (Daughter)

Lives with her mother,
Rifat Siddiqui


Nieces & Nephews


Ghazala Siddiqui


Shuaib Siddiqui


Naila Siddiqui


Raheela Siddiqui


Alee Faruki


Anam Faruki


Omar Faruki


Osaid Azeem


Misha Azeem


Alysha Faruki


Alyha Faruki


Alyeena Faruki


Shahid’s humor

Shahid’s sense of humor was delightful. It graced and lubricated his essays but only those gifted with subtlety recognized it directly. Other times he sent me jokes like this one:

Marriage is sharing
The old man placed an order for one hamburger, French fries and a drink. He unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half, placing one half in front of his wife. He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife. He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them. As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them were looking over and whispering. Obviously they were thinking, 'That poor old couple - all they can afford is one meal for the two of them.' As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table and politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple. The old man said, they were just fine - they were used to sharing everything.

People closer to the table noticed the little old lady hadn't eaten a bite. She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink... Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them. This time the old woman said 'No, thank you, we are used to sharing everything.' Finally, as the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to eat a single bite of food and asked 'What is it you are waiting for?'

She answered, 'THE TEETH.'

Shahid’s clear, insightful and elegant writing will be read and re-read, far into the future. Even more important than his observations and ideas is the example he established for his readers and for fellow writers.

In early February, Shahid sent us an essay in defense of the people of Kashmir. He included a number of photos, one of them a small cabin in the Kashmiri country side. I commented on this lovely scene and he replied he would love dearly to build a small dwelling next to it, away from the humdrum of life.

Shahid is now spared the humdrum of life, and those of us who counted him as a husband, father, grandfather, friend, colleague, teacher – we will all miss him immensely.

- Les Blough with contributions
from Paul Richard Harris