Farooq Qaiser

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Farooq Qaiser
Farooq Qaiser with his puppet Uncle Sargam
Farooq Qaiser with his puppet Uncle Sargam
Farooq Qaiser

1 November 1945[1]
Died14 May 2021 (aged 75)[2]
Islamabad, Pakistan
OccupationTV director, journalist, puppeteer, writer, columnist, cartoonist
Known forUncle Sargam (creator)

Farooq Qaiser (Punjabi, Urdu: فاروق قیصر; 1st November 1945 – 14 May 2021) was a Pakistani artist, newspaper columnist, TV show director, puppeteer, script writer, and voice actor. He was known as the creator of the fictional puppet character Uncle Sargam introduced in 1976 in children's television show Kaliyan. Farooq was also a cartoonist, newspaper columnist and wrote for the newspaper Daily Nai Baat in Lahore and under the pen name "Meethay Karelay" (English: "Sweet Bitter gourd").

Early life and education[edit]

Farooq Qaiser was born on 1st November 1945 in a Muslim family in Sialkot, Punjab. He spent his early childhood in Peshawar and Kohat, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. In 1970, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. Later he received a master's degree in Graphic Arts from Bucharest, Romania, in 1976 and also trained for puppetry there.[3] He also received his master's degree in Mass Communication in 1999 from the University of Southern California, School for Communication and Journalism, United States.[4][5]


Qaiser started his career in the early 1970s after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, with a short documentary in the English language. In 1971, his teacher Salima Hashmi got him involved in her children's television puppet show Akkar Bakkar. In that show, he worked with Shoaib Hashmi, Muneeza Hashmi and Faiz Ahmad Faiz on the scripts and puppets.[4] The show was intended to be Pakistan's version of the American entertainment and educational show Sesame Street.[6] His first assignment on the show was to create a local version of the Big Bird, after which he went on to create many other characters for the program.[6]

In 1976, Qaiser directed and wrote his own puppet show Kaliyan which was broadcast on the national television network, Pakistan Television (PTV). He created his own fictional puppet characters for the show including Uncle Sargam, Haiga and Maasi Museebte. He also was the voice of Uncle Sargam.[3] He created the character Uncle Sargam in resemblance of his teacher Mohan Lal from Romania.[3][4] The character went on to be a household name in Pakistan for many decades.[5] Speaking about the character, Qaiser said, "he has the same insecurities and fears of every middle class Pakistani. He could say things that a common man wanted to express but could not say".[6]

Some of his other television shows included Putli Tamasha and Sargam Time.[5] Qaiser also worked at the Lahore based Urdu daily newspaper Daily Nai Baat as a cartoonist.[7] He was also a newspaper columnist at the same newspaper and wrote under the pen name Meethay Karelay. He taught for sometime at the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi.[8]

He served on the board of governors at the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2015.[9] He was a recipient of the Presidential Pride of Performance in 1993.[5] He also served in India as a member of UNESCO providing educational services for two years.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Qaiser was married and had two daughters and a son. He died on 14 May 2021, in Islamabad from a severe heart attack.[1][10][5]




  • Hor Puchho
  • Kaalam Galoch
  • Meethay Karelay
  • Meray Piyaray Allah Mian



Television shows[edit]


  • Kaliyan (1976) – Pakistan Television
  • Daak Time (1993) – NTM
  • Sargam Sargam (1995) – Pakistan Television
  • Siyasi Kaliyan (2010) – Dawn News
  • Sargam Back Home (2016– continue) – Pakistan Television

Awards and recognition[edit]

Sitara e Imtiaz awarded to him by president Arif Alvi on March 23rd 2021 for his unmatched performance and contribution towards the entertainment industry of Pakistan for over 4 decades.


  1. ^ a b "Farooq Qaiser aka Uncle Sargam passes away". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Writer, actor Farooq Qaiser of 'Uncle Sargam' fame passes away". dunyanews.tv. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Paying tribute: After decades, Uncle Sargam remains darling of the crowd". The Express Tribune. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "The story of a proud puppeteer". Dawn (newspaper). 5 December 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Arshad, Qasim (14 May 2021). "Farooq Qaiser, the man behind Uncle Sargam, passes away at 75". Dawn. Retrieved 15 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b c d Shuaib, Haroon (28 December 2020). "Man and Muppet: Farooq Qaiser and Uncle Sargam". Youlin Magazine. Retrieved 15 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b "Cartoons by Farooq Qaiser". naibaat.pk website. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Farooq Qaiser". World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  9. ^ Farooq Qaiser (member, Board of Governors-Lok Virsa in 2015), Islamabad The Nation (Pakistani newspaper), Published 11 November 2015, Retrieved 25 April 2018
  10. ^ "Iconic puppeteer 'Uncle Sargam' passes away". The Express Tribune. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  11. ^ "PTV Awards 1998", PTV (News), archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 29 June 2021

External links[edit]