Clarence Rufin could have made for an ideal ambassador given his charm, an uncanny ability to treat even the most contentious issues with diplomatic ease, and employing humour like a USP. A Master’s degree in International Relations, a love of literature and performing arts, and wide travel, of course did not hurt. And yet that was only his public persona; privately, he just kept to himself, strictly guarding the ebb and flow of his life.
Clarence passed away on April 23 almost unnoticed – in keeping with a long practised low profile – hours after another busy day at setting up a soon-to-be launched finance daily from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
Born in Gujranwala, bred in Karachi and Lahore, and last based in Islamabad, Clarence’s educational journey was supplemented by specialised training across the globe. He honed his skills at the prestigious Cambridge Radio Course in England, learned video production in the Philippines, and delved into production and direction at the Pakistan Television Academy in Islamabad. His expertise was further enriched by a newspaper layout and presentation course conducted by the International School of Journalism in Germany, and a management excellence programme in Karachi.
Clarence’s professional life was a testament to his dedication and prowess. A substantial stint with Dawn, Pakistan’s most respected mainstream English language daily, and later its television channel DawnNews, stand out but as Consulting Editor for the Daily Morning Mail and Group Editor for the Pakistan Observer, he also shaped the narrative and quality of journalism in Pakistan’s capital. His roles as Associate Editor for Dateline Islamabad, a city broadsheet, and Desk Editor at DawnNews showcased his capability to handle the fast-paced demands of news editing. His tenure at The News, another mainstream daily, and stewardship on the Pakistan and World pages for the Times of Oman in Muscat, highlighted his adaptability and keen editorial insight.
Beyond editing, Clarence saw his creative juices flow in television production. He brought to life the 84-minute telefilm Shifa, which aired on Pakistan’s premier entertainment channel, Geo Entertainment, as well as the play Shehzada. His directorial acumen was on display in For Him, a documentary exploring worship trends in Asia, and he also produced engaging presentations for In-Contact in England, depicting the customs of Asian communities in Britain.
His influence extended into academia as a visiting faculty member at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Islamabad, where he nurtured the next generation of journalists. He last taught as a lecturer in Muslim Youth University in Islamabad.
Clarence’s commitment to the media was also evident in his participation in numerous international conferences and seminars, where he once earned the ‘Best Developed Project’ prize at the Asian Documentary Forum in Kolkata, India.
A lifetime member of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the National Press Club Islamabad, Clarence Rufin’s career was not just about personal achievement, but also fostering a greater understanding of the world through media.
His legacy in journalism and production is a beacon for aspiring professionals everywhere, illuminating the path of excellence with integrity, creativity, and passion.
His sudden demise left many friends and colleagues in a state of shock and but ultimately, evincing a melancholic note about not being able to remain in regular touch.

Maheen A Rashdi, writer and former Dawn magazine editor
“I knew him for almost 28 years when he joined Dawn. We hit it off right away. He was a gentle soul and a deep thinker. His Sufic nature was evident in his writing which was always soulful, reflective of human anguish whenever writing about societal injustice. He deserved much more recognition than he got. We shared the same dry and cryptic sense of humour and a fierce journalistic integrity which is almost extinct. It was that unbending respect for truth that makes lesser beings wary of you and not accept you as you are – which was the case with Clarence. I will truly miss him as a dear, kind friend”.

Prasad Panicker, former editor at Times of Oman
“It’s that time of time when unwelcome, but inevitable, news about people of my time trickles in. Clarence is the latest to join the list. We shared the newsroom at the Times of Oman in Muscat. Simple, unpretentious and warm, he blended with the multinational editorial team from day one. What amused me then, and now, was his habit of holding discussions with another colleague midway through their places of residence standing by the side of the road past midnight...a sight I got to view as I drove back home one of those days after the edition had been sent to press. The sight got repeated so often that it soon ceased to offer any novelty. I always wanted to ask him what it was that required such urgent pre-dawn summits, but never that he’s gone, let that remain another piece of puzzle on the board of life. May his soul rest in peace”.

Kamran Yousaf, Senior
Correspondent at The Express Tribune and TRT, and TV anchor

“I had the honour of working with (Clarence) Rufin. He was one of the first few people in the newsroom I became friends with when I joined DawnNews TV in 2007. He was a thorough professional, but also humble, softspoken and soft hearted. I always enjoyed his company. We often shared the table at the Dawn cafeteria for tea break, lunch, or dinner with extended discussions from contemporary politics to literature and much more. I never found him losing his temper, a rare quality in this day and age. He will certainly be missed by his family and friends”.

Saba Eitizaz, podcast host at The Toronto Star
Clarence was one of the first and friendliest faces that welcomed me into a newsroom as a rookie journalist. He set me up with a high bar on how true gentlemen and good colleagues behave in this industry. For a good one year, he sat across from me in the DawnNews newsroom. I learned much from him and his gentle and quiet ways. I will never forget the image of Clarence, editing our stories with his headphones on and then taking his tea break with a jovial snapping of his fingers and customary announcement: chai peeni chahye (time to have tea). It became a catch phrase with some of the younger journalists. I still sometimes find myself doing it to this day, though those who would get the joke are no longer around.”

Wajahat Ali, Editor, Arab News Pakistan
“Clarence Rufin had a charming presence, easy in his skin, with a raconteur’s mien. That he was solid in his work skills was not much of a surprise given his distinguished record of working with the best in the business, especially at Dawn before he and some of us fellow wordsmiths, including Kamran Rehmat and Amber Rahim Shamsi, joined forces at DawnNews. He was gentle with word and how he almost quietly went about his business. It’s sad that once we parted ways as DawnNews shut down its English service, we weren’t able to keep in touch much. I reckon some meeting grounds are meant to be a one-time, if cherished, event”.
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