Industry mourns the passing of Sultana Zafar


Actor Sultana Zafar was known for her work with PTV in the 90s, a time many consider to be the golden age of Pakistani television. She was a part of hit television shows such asTanhaiyyan, Uroosa and Akhri Chattan. Starring alongside other prominent actors of the time, including Marina Khan and Behroze Sabzwari, Zafar was part of a generation of actors that put Pakistani television on the global map.

Zafar passed away in the United States, where she had been residing for some time now, running a boutique in Dallas. Her death prompted an outpour of grief on social media and otherwise, with many taking to Twitter to remember the actor and her contribution to television. Popular playwright and TV drama writer Asghar Nadeem Sayed, who wrote extensively for PTV in the 90s, told The Express Tribune, “Sultana Zafar painted an accurate portrait of the educated middle-class of Pakistani woman of that time. She performed roles that depicted the true nature of a Pakistani female. She emerged on screen through PTV at a time when the life and culture of Karachi were being highlighted through the arts, especially dramas.”

He continued, “After Partition and the subsequent creation of Pakistan, people from various areas and cultural backgrounds came together in Karachi and these were the exact people who were the central focus of PTV dramas when Sultana Zafar first entered the field of acting. She was a representative of this new kind of female that had settled in Karachi. She accurately portrayed the family values and traditions of the time and was indeed one of the best actors of her era when it comes to serious acting.”

Senior television and film actor Rashad Mahmood reflected on her experience of working with Zafar. “Sultana was among those female actors of PTV who were truly committed to acting. This was a rare quality to have at the time. She was an incredibly well-mannered lady and her style of acting was rather serious. She was a firm believer that the success of any television show depended on the quality of acting,” he stated. “She was well-educated and came from a family rooted in traditional values, both of which became reasons for her success in this field later. I had an opportunity to work with her and can easily say that apart from being a good actor, she was also a highly sophisticated individual and it is truly heartbreaking that she is now no longer among us. Her services to Pakistani television will be remembered forever.”