Asim Butt. Artist. Activist. Rebel. Karachi lover. Peace lover. Asimicus. Saw him last two days ago heading home, he was waiting at a bus stop, we exchanged delighted hellos, I offered him a ride. “It’s all great,” he said with a big smile, gave an “all’s well” thumbs up. Funeral today 4 pm. Why?
We may never know the answer to this “why”. Meanwhile we can only hope that he is at peace where ever he is. Life does go on, even after such a shock and bereavement. But Karachi will not be the same without ‘Asimicus’, his generous spirit, creative passion and love for the city, for democratic values and peace. He got into these symbols- the ‘eject’ sign, the ‘circle’ – with great enthusiasm, even missed an anti-Musharraf Emergency rally to which he was bringing posters – got so involved making them he lost track of time. But that was Asim.
[NOTE: I thought the “I ♥ KHI” graffiti was by Asim but have just been informed it was by Shehryar Sumar.]
A FaceBook group has been formed – In Loving Memory of Asim Butt, 1978-2010 where friends and well wishers can post messages.
The News on Sunday report of Jan 27, 2008, ‘Of Karachi, by Karachi, for Karachi‘, which features Asim Butt, graffiti artist and activist.
BBC Report of December 2007, featuring Asim Butt featured as ‘Artist’ in One day in Pakistan: Views and news:“I feel there is something big at stake here, and an opportunity to be a part of the wider process”
“He has also spent four years studying art at Karachi’s respected Indus Valley School for Arts.
“He says he has been painting since an early age but went to study at Lums and in the US on the insistence of his parents. A ‘subversive’ artist, he has been a part of the recent protests in Pakistan against the imposition of emergency. He has done anti-government graffiti on the city walls and posters for protest demonstrations.
“His rebellious nature stems from what he calls his longing for the restoration of people’s dignity, which he feels has been usurped by the military as a dominant power in social and economic life. He hails from a well-to-do family and lives with his parents in Karachi’s wealthy neighbourhood of Defence Housing Authority.”