ISLAMABAD-One of the topmost intellectuals of the country Professor Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani breathed his last here on Monday. He was 88. He leaves behind his wife, three sons Dr. Anis Ahmad Dani (World Bank), Navaid Ahmad Dani (PTV), Junaid Ahmad Dani (Action Aid), daughter Fauzia Iqbal Butt, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Dr Ahmad Hasan Dani was a world renowned authority on history, archaeology, culture, linguistics, Buddhism and Central Asia. He was National Professor and Professor Emeritus at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, a distinction bestowed on him in recognition of his contributions after his retirement as Dean of Social Sciences. He was the Founding Director of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations and Founder head of Islamabad Museum. An ethnic Kashmiri, Dr Dani was born in Basna, Raipur District (Chattishargh) on 20 July 1920. He graduated in 1944, with an MA degree, becoming the first Muslim graduate of Banaras Hindu University. In 1945, Dani started work as an archaeologist with Sir Mortimer Wheeler and participated in excavations at Taxila and Mohenjodaro. He was subsequently posted at the Department of Archaeology of British India at Taj Mahal, Agra. After independence Dr Dani moved towards teaching and research. From 1950 to 1962, he remained Associate Professor of History at University of Dhaka, while at the same time working as Curator at Dhaka Museum. During this period, he carried out research on the Muslim history and architecture of Bengal. Dr Dani moved to the University of Peshawar in 1962 as Professor of Archaeology and remained there until 1971. During this time, he conducted numerous archaeological explorations and excavations on the Stone Age and Gandhara civilization in northern Pakistan and guided the upgrading of Lahore and Peshawar Museums. In 1971, he moved to Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad where he established the Faculty of Social Sciences and served as Dean until his retirement in 1980. Dr. Dani has been extensively engaged in excavation works on the pre-Indus Civilization site in Northern Pakistan. He also made a number of discoveries of Gandhara sites in Peshawar and Swat Valleys, and worked on Indo-Greek sites in Dir. The Government of Pakistan bestowed upon him Hilala-e-Imtiaz in 2000, and Sitara-e Imtiaz in 1969 in recognition of his meritorious contributions. He was also awarded LTgion d'honneur by the French Government in 1998, Aristotle Silver Medal, by UNESCO in 1997, Order of the Merit, by Government of Germany in 1996 and Knight Commander, by the Government of Italy in 1994. Dr. Dani authored more than 30 books, the latest being the History of Pakistan published in 2008. Some his other books are: Historic City of Taxila, History of Northern Areas of Pakistan, Romance of the Khyber Pass, New Light on Central Asia, Central Asia Today and Human Records on Karakorum Highway. He was fluent in Bangla, French, Hindi, Kashmiri, Marathi, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Seraiki, Sindhi, Tamil, Turkish and Urdu languages. His Namaz-e Janaza will be held tomorrow (27 January 2009) at Mosque Abbassi Market F-8/3 Islamabad after Zohar prayers (1.30 PM) while burial will take place at H-11 graveyard at 2.00 PM.