Asim Butt. Artist. Activist. Rebel. Karachi lover. RIP

Asim Butt [BBC photo

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?

‘Eject’ (military OUT of politics) – graffiti art by Asim Butt (Photo K.B. Abro)

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.

Asim making posters for an anti-Emergency rally, Dec 2007. Photo: K.B. Abro

I ❤ KHI by Shehryar Sumar

[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”

“Asim Butt is an artist who paints, sculpts and has an interest in graffiti and print-making. He studied social sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) and went on to study for a PhD in the United States. But before completing the programme, he switched to art.

“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.”

6 Responses

  1. See also Raza Rumi’s article ‘A brush with the new – Asim Butt’s Art’, posted on his blog July 10th, 2008 –


  2. Love the headline.


  3. Its tragic how artists are tortured by their own dreams. RIP.


  4. “Death of an Artist. Asim Butt 1978-2010” by Imran Khan, Al Jazeera Doha correspondent:

    TRIBUTE TO ASIM BUTT @ The Second Floor (T2F)
    (10-C, Sunset Lane 5, Phase 2 Extension, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan)
    Monday, January 18, 2010
    6:30pm – 8:30pm
    FB Event:


  5. Hi
    Never met him but feel that I knew him. The progressive salt of this earth that puts humanity first and then themselves. He is sure going to change the concept of the afterworld wherever he is. Look out for him!
    Continue your work and make sure no one asks you to Rest in Peace. Work in Peace I say!



  6. it is so tragic


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