Kamis, 10 Maret 2016

Leading English Newspapers in Karachi History


On August 14, 1947, the leading English newspapers in Karachi were the "Sind Observer", The "Daily Gazette" and the "Karachi Daily". The former two were morning dailies and the latter was an eveninger. Al-Wahid was the leading Sindhi daily. There were some Urdu dailies but they did not have much prestige or popularity. Yet all these newspapers were firmly established and financially sound. The "Sind Observer", being more pronouncedly non-Muslim in character and outlook, led in circulation.The "Daily Gazette" was comparatively sober.

The non-Muslim share-holders of the "Sind Observer" and "Al- Wahid" sold their newspapers to Muslim politicians of the province, prominent among who was Mr. Muhammad Ayub Khuhro.The "Daily Gazette", which had among its financiers some Parsis who did not migrate, remained more or less under the same management with little change in policy. While the newspapers in the province of Sind, both English and Sindhi, were trying to adjust themselves to the new situation, they were overtaken by the newspapers which were forced to shift to Pakistan from Delhi, the Indian capital. The first batch of educated middle class men and women who arrived in Karachi at the time were mostly from Delhi and along with them arrived the English daily Dawn, Urdu dailies Anjam, Jang and, a little later, Manshoor. Both groups of newspapers—those already established in Karachi and the new ones transplanted from Delhi—had their own difficulties to face in the wake of the division of India. The immigrant newspapers however got an upper hand and quickly established their hold over the public.

On the Urdu side, the pre-partition newspapers suffered from certain disadvantages. The number of their readers was limited because the Urdu-knowing and Urdu-reading population then in Karachi was very small. They had meager financial resources to support them and subsisted mainly on blackmail, their target being generally the feudal non-Muslim class in Sind politics. After Independence this source ceased to be available. The newspapers which the immigrant population brought with it virtually sounded the death-knell for this section of the press. In these circumstances the old newspapers of Karachi had hardly any prestige. The "Sind Observer" and "The Daily Gazette" were taken over by The Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore.

The others slowly went out of circulation. Not only did "Dawn", "Jang" and "Anjam" gain popularity and economic stability, new newspapers in Urdu, Sindhi and Gujerati also started appearing. Among them were three well-known newspapers, "Vatan" (Gujrati), "Sara Jadid" (Urdu) and "Manshoor" (Urdu) which came from Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi to join the fold of the Karachi Press. The Pakistan Heraiad Limited (the company which owns Dawn) also boldly ventured into the field of the indigenous language press with Urdu and Gujerati editions. Dawn (English) generally kept on the right side of the Government. This policy was revised with the dismissal of the Nazim-ud-Din Ministry by the Governor-General. It supported the foreign policy of the Government, but on internal issues it often attacked the government.

It invited the wrath of those in power for criticizing the failure of the authorities concerned to unearth the baffling mystery of Mr. Liaqat Ali Khans assassination. This led to imposition of certain restrictions on it. Government departments were instructed not to issue advertisements to this paper and not to patronize it in establishments under Government control. Obviously a harsh treatment, this policy invited a good deal of critical attention, but Mr. Gurmani, the then Minister of Interior, replied to an enquiry with the remark that the Government does not impose restrictions simply to withdraw them. Nevertheless.

the Prime Minister withdrew these restrictions soon after the above-mentioned statement of the
Minister of Interior, and, of all the places, this decision was announced at Dacca which makes it. Reasonable to assume that the rumour that some bargain had been struck was not without foundation. This English daily always advocated a strong attitude towards India to which it invariably referred as "Bharat". Conservative in its outlook, this paper did not plead for revolutionary changes in the economic structure of the country. In industrial disputes, it would be inclined to side with the employers, but in the countrys political affairs it supported, at times, certain political groups opposed to the Centre. This trend in its policy added to its popularity, as it did, rightly or wrongly; give the impression that Dawn was not the mouthpiece of the government but voice of the common people. Its Editor, Mr. Altaf Hussain, had an effective style and forceful pen which won him international repute, according to his friends, while his critics did not agree with this opinion. Mr. Altaf Hussains attitude, as reflected by the paper, on the language issue was not always consistent. However, Dawn fully supported the Centre when the. Latter, in 1955, dismissed the United Front Ministry in East Bengal under Section 92-A of the Government of India Act, 1935. On the whole, this newspaper is one of the few standard and independent newspapers of Pakistan, and its contribution towards introducing Pakistan to foreign lands is also commendable. It reproduces features and articles from well known foreign newspapers. Over the years Dawn has grown into a high quality-newspaper, the only daily which in its own right can claim international standard. Of late, its financial position, according to certain circles, has shown some strain which may have been caused by expansion in its services. It has now established its Lahore edition.Though not yet a fully developed Lahore daily, it may overtake other Lahore English newspapers in circulation and intellectual leadership provided, of course, its managerial and editorial bosses demonstrate broad mindedness in their approach to national issues. The nation will surely salute it if it raises equal to the expectations of the nation.
"The Times of Karachi" was the descendent of "The Evening Times" which closed down in 1953 though it was again brought out in 1958 from Lahore. The former was the only English paper which, under the editorship of Mr. Z.A. Suleri, a journalist of great intellectual vigour, could in a way compete with Dawn particularly in respect of monetary resources, reading matter and equipment. It had the support of "Big Money" and in turn it supported the big industrialists and capitalists. It opposed any economic reform which might in any manner be akin to socialism. It also favoured an Islamic constitution without clearly defining its full implications. It supported Urdu as the only official and national language for the country.
It opposed the United Front in East Bengal, and while opposing all leftist political thought, it also opposed the Muslim League. It supported the policy of the Centre in relation to the provinces. The speed with which its editor succeeded in establishing the paper astounded journalistic circles in the country. In matters of foreign policy it had at times given the impression of being opposed to the British and of favouring American policies. It supported Muslim nationalism in the Middle East, especially in so far as it aimed at uprooting British influence there. Its anti-communist stance was of the most uncompromising nature. It reproduced features, articles and despatches from the Observer of London. It would have reached greater heights of journalism if vicissitudes of politics had not intervened. The Morning News of Karachi was a descendent of the Morning News of Calcutta. This newspaper was the youngest of the three English morningers in Karachi, and was published simultaneously from Dacca. It had hardly any clear-cut views on any national or international issue. The policy of the Morning News of Karachi did not necessarily correspond with that of its counter-part in Dacca. It was an independent paper with an eye on business rather than on the propagation of any set political philosophy or policy. Its circulation was by and large limited to Karachi, but its Get-A-Word puzzle was popular. The printing facilities that this newspaper possessed were not up to the mark, though the National Press Trust, which owned it, made fruitless efforts to improve and modernize it. Unfortunately its financial situation did not show any progress with the result that the NPT had to close it down.

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