Bhat started his career in journalism in 1952 from a weekly 'Kashmir' in Azad Kashmir. He started the daily 'Aftab' in 1957.
Fully devoted to his professional life and his daily, Bhat, popularly known as 'Khawaja sahib', introduced the street sale of newspapers.
He had also authored a number of books. Bhat was the first to use offset printing technology for his daily. He also introduced photo-journalism in Kashmir. Various dignitaries have condoled the demise of the veteran journalist, was considered here as 'father of journalism'.
Doctors attending Khwaja said that he was suffering from chronic kidney ailment, coronary artery disease, renal failure, mxyedma, prostrate besides other organ failures. Thousands of people from different shades of life including APHC Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, veteran Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi, Fazal Haq Querishi, Javeed Ahmad Mir, Farooq Ahmad Dar participate in his funeral prayers offered at Lal Chowk, today.
Kashmiri liberation leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Gilani, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Mian Abdul Qayoom, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Azam Inqilabi, Yasmeen Raja, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Javed Ahmad Mir, Ghulam Nabi Shaheen, Firdous Ahmed Shah, Mukhtar Ahmed Waza, Tufail Altaf Bhat, Mehmood Ahmad Sagar, Shaikh Muteen, Muhammad Farooq Rehmani and Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl in their separate statements while expressing deep grief and sorrow over Khwaja Sonaullah Bhat’s demise called it a irreparable loss to journalism in Kashmir.
Khwaja Sanaullah Bhat was born on November 14, 1922, in the family of Ahmed Joo Bhat at Chatabal in old city. He passed his matriculation examination from Punjab University’s Lahore Board in 1938. Later he went to Rawalpindi to assist his brother in Kashmir arts business. He couldn’t excel in business as he didn’t like it. To look for better avenues and a job that suited him Khwaja Sanaullah Bhat migrated to Lahore from where he shifted to Bombay where he ran a British Army canteen.
In 1947, Khwaja Bhat went to Lahore and then to Muzaffarabad city of AJK where he was appointed as Settlement Officer. His job was to rehabilitate those people who migrated from Jammu and Kashmir to Azad Kashmir.
Khawja Bhat started his career as journalist in Azad Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad wherefrom he published weekly newspaper ‘Kashmir’.
However, he went back to Kashmir valley in 1956. Soon after that he started Aftaab first as weekly and then daily. He filled a vacuum as there was no independent newspaper after Hamdard of Prem Nath Bazaz whose publication was ceased in Kashmir.
Aftaab had many firsts in journalism to its credit. It was the first paper which was printed on offset press. Introduction of hawkers and home delivery of newspapers was also started first by Khawja Bhat in Kashmir.