Husband, father, golfer, civil servant. Born Nov. 14, 1948, in Karachi, Pakistan. Died Sept. 5, 2013, in Montreal of lung cancer, aged 64.
The incomparable Shado, as Shahid Nazir Ahmad was affectionately known to all, was born to Nazir Ahmad, a member of the Indian Civil Service and later defence secretary of Pakistan, and Begum Afroze Shaban.
The youngest of four children, Shahid was the apple of his father’s eye. With a penchant for playing hooky from school – until he was caught by his father one day and punished – Shahid was a mischievous and precocious child, but also friendly and popular. He maintained the latter attributes throughout his lifetime.
Shahid joined the Pakistan Army in 1968 and was commissioned to 5 Horse, still informally known as Probyn’s Horse, a British regiment allotted to Pakistan after independence in 1947. He graduated from the Military Academy in Kakul. After serving until 1973, he joined the Foreign Service. At 25, he had his first child, Nadia, from his first marriage.
Shahid’s diplomatic postings took him to the former Yugoslavia and Switzerland, where, in 1977, he met the Canadian-born Maria Eugenia, who was working for the United Nations in Geneva. They were married in Karachi in 1979, and they had two daughters, Shazia and Azra.
President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq removed Shahid from the Foreign Service when he found out that he had a foreign wife. He was given an ultimatum – either get a divorce or go to the Civil Service. Shahid chose the latter and was posted to rural Sindh in 1981. He later served with the Civil Aviation Authority in Karachi, and his last posting in Pakistan was as principal secretary to the provincial chief minister.
In 1998, the family moved to Montreal when Shahid was appointed the Pakistan representative to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. He stayed with the organization until his retirement in September, 2011. Although he considered returning to Pakistan, he knew Canada was home to his wife and daughters and he became a permanent resident.
Shahid’s biggest passions outside of golf were good food and good wine. Always social, never one to sit still, he enjoyed eating out at Montreal’s finest restaurants and loved the company of friends and family, frequently entertaining guests. He lived for political discourse and had strong opinions about Pakistan’s place in the world and its future. As the only man in a household with three women and two female German Shepherds, he could be like a big kid, sulking and stomping about, nostrils flaring, if he didn't get his way.
A huge fan of Tiger Woods, Shahid disappeared during the summers, when he vacationed from work to play golf and compete in tournaments. With retirement, he looked forward to spending his summers on the greens.
Shahid succumbed to his illness surrounded by people who loved him. The nurse on duty told his youngest daughter, Azra, that her father was clearly one of those “special” people given the number of family and friends visiting in his last days. His Pakistani obituary said it best: “forever loved, already missed, always in our hearts.” Nothing could be truer.
Shazia Ahmad is Shahid’s daughter.