Mustansar Hussain Tarar was born at Lahore in 1939. As a young boy he witnessed the independence of Pakistan in 1947 and the events that took place at Lahore(one of the major cities of Pakistan). (The events of independence as like the migration of Muslims from India to Pakistan and vice versa) His father, Rehmat Khan Tarar, operated a small seed store by the name of “Kisan & co” that developed to become a major business in that sphere.
Tarar was educated at Rang Mehal Mission High School and Muslim Model High School, both in Lahore. He did further studies at the Government College, Lahore and in London. While abroad he spent much of his time in watching movies, doing theater[clarification needed] and reading books. In 1957, he attended the World Youth Festival in Moscow and wrote a book named Fakhta (Dove)[when?] which was based on that experience.
His first book was Nikley Teri Talaash Main, dedicated to his youngest brother,Mobashir Hussain Tarar, a travelogue of Europe published in 1971. This followed a period during which he travelled in seventeen European countries, and it led to new trend in Urdu literature. As Safar Nama, (travelogue) he has so far over forty titles to his credit. These span many genres, including travelogues, novels, short stories and collections of his newspaper columns and television dramas.
He also became a television actor and from 1988 was for many years a host of PTV‘s live morning transmission Subuh Bakhair (Good Morning). His unconventional and down-to-earth style of comparing earned him great popularity among people from all circles of life. He is one of the most recognized personality among children as he spent a big part of transmission time addressing exclusively children. He called himself the cha cha jee (paternal uncle) of all Pakistani children and soon became known by this title.
Tarar has been an active mountaineer for many years. and has been to the base camp of K2 and the Chitti Buoi Glacier (translated as a glacier with large crevasses). He has gained respect among the Pakistani mountaineering community.
Columns and books
Currently[when?] he writes a weekly column for Akhbar-e-Jahan, he also writes a fortnightly column for the English language daily Dawn and columns for the Urdu language Daily Aaj. He is currently writing a column in Daily Jinnah (Urdu Daily).
His novel Raakh was nominated as one of the best in the history of sub-continent South-Asia. His books include:
- Andulus Mayn Ajnabi (اندلس میں اجنبی) (Stranger in Spain) (ISBN No:9693515471, Publisher:SMP, Language:URDU, Category: SAFAR NAMA
Year: 2009) First published in 1972
- Bahhao (بہاؤ) (Flow)
- Bay Izti Kharab (بے عزتی خراب) (Insulting dishonor) – This phrase is deliberately wrong and commonly used this way in local communities, thus the book name.
- Berfeeli Bulandiyan (برفیلی بلندیاں) (Snowy Heights)
- Carvan Sarai (کارواں سرایےؑ) (Caravan Motel)
- CHIK CHUK (چک چک) (Remove the curtain)
- CHITRAL DASTAAN (چترال داستان) (Chitral Tale)
- Dais Huwaa Perdais (دیس ھٗوے پردیس) (Homeland becomes foreign land)
- Deosai (دیوسائی) First published 2003
- Dakia aur Jolaha (ڈاکیا اور جولاھا) (Postman and cloth-maker)
- Gadhay Hamaray Bhai Hain (گدھے ھمارے بھایی ھیں) (Donkeys are our brothers)
- Ghar-e-Hira mien ek Raat (a night in cave Hira)
- Guzara Naheen Hota (گزارا نھی ھوتا) (Hard to get by)
- Gypsi (جپسی)
- Hazaron Hain Shikway (ھزاروں ھیں شکوے) (Have thousands of complaints)
- Hazaron Raastay (ھزاروں راستے) (Thousands of paths)
- Hunza Dastaan (ھنزھ داستان) (Hunza Tale)
- K-2 Kahani (کے ٹو کھانی) (K2 Story) First published 1994
- Kaalaash (کالاش)Kafiristan.
- Khana Badosh (خانھ بدوش) (Gypsi) First published in 1983
- Moorat (مورت) (Idol)
- Moscow ki Sufaid Raatein.ماسکو کی سفید راتیں ( white nights of moscow)
- Mun Wal Kabbey Shariff (منھ ول کعبے شریف دے) (Face towards Qibla)[Experience of performing HAJJ] First published 2006
- Nanga Parbat (نانگاپربت) (named after the mountain)
- Nepal Nagri (نیپال نگری) (Land of Nepal) First published 1999
- Niklay Teri Talash Main (نکلے تیری تلاش میں) (Out in your search)
- Pakhairoo (پکھیرو) (Birds)
- Parinday (پرندے) (Birds)
- Parwaz (پرواز) (Flight)
- Payar Ka Pehla Shehr (پیار کا پھلا شھر) (Love’s first city)
- Putli Peking Ki (پتلی پیکنگ کی) (Monument from Peking) First published 2009
- Qilaa Jangi (قلعھ جنگی) (Fortified war)
- Qurbat-e-Merg Main Mohabbat (قربت مرگ میں محبت) (Love in the vicinity of death)
- Raakh (راکھ) (Ash)
- Ratti Gali First published 2005
- Safar Shumal Kay (سفر شمال کے) (Travels of the north) First published 1991
- Shamshaal Baimesaal (شمشھال بیمثال) (Extraordinary Shamshaal) First published 2000
- Shehpar (شھپر) (Wings)
- Shuter Murgh Riasat (شتر مرغ ریاست) (Ostrich State)
- Snow Lake (سنو لیک) First published 2000
- Sunehri Ullo Ka Shaher (سنھری الو کا شھر) (The city of golden owl)
- Yaak Saraey (یاک سرایے) (Yaak Inn) First published 1997
- Ghar e Hira main aik rat(A night in cave Hira)
- khas-o-khashak zamane (Novel)
- Alaska Highway – (ISBN 9693524446 Publisher: SMP Language: URDU Subject: TRAVELOGUE Year: 2011)
He is also the author of many famous drama series for PTV.
- Hazaron Raastey (Thousands of Paths)
- Parinda (Bird)
- Sooraj Ke Sath Sath (Along with Sun)
- Kelash (Name of a tribe)
- Freb (illusion)
His most recent appearance on TV was Safar Hai Shart a travelogue show on Express TV. It covers his recent endeavor to Raka Poshi base camp.