Introduction to Pakistani Media
Pakistan enjoys a lot of dynamism in the media, despite an authoritarian government influenced by the military. For the past few years, Pakistan has begun to enjoy a newfound freedom of speech in the country, that extends to its media as well. After 2002, electronic media liberalisation began in the country, which also led to several pre-existing newspapers expanding their operations. Despite bans and censorship, Pakistani media has evolved leaps and bounds to house more than 100 newspapers and news channels.
Before 2002, most of the newspapers in Pakistan were founded by journalists with nationalist motives. After the liberalisation, they came under scanner and were criticised for their sensationalism and vested interests in news reporting. Some newspapers were even owned by political parties, and for obvious reasons circulated the party’s ideologies. Even if the newspapers weren’t directly owned by politicians, they were influenced by one or the other political party, be it for ideological or commercial reasons. This also took place because the majority of Pakistani journalists were thriving in the industry without proper training and education in journalism. However, after 2002 the media scenario saw a wave of newspapers with an urban-centric and liberal approach.
Media in Pakistan is multi-linguist and divided by class. There are many newspapers in Urdu, Sindhi, English, Pashto and Punjabi. Among them, Urdu newspapers are widely read and accepted by masses in the rural areas while English newspapers are favourite among the urban population. English newspapers are more centric, unbiased and liberal in their approach as compared to Urdu newspapers. English newspapers in Pakistan have far less reach than their Urdu counterparts, but they play a major role among police makers, politicians, business community, etc.
Newspapers in Pakistan are witnessing shrinking circulation, owing to the outburst of new electronic media outlets like radio channels, news channels and online websites. However, in rural Pakistan, newspapers are still a major source of information citing lack of internet connectivity and access to modern technology.
In recent times, Pakistani media has been struck by another tide of shortcomings. The media, which is known to be one of the most vibrant ones in South Asia, was met with several challenges including ailing economy, a business-unfriendly party coming to power and reducing government subsidies. As a result, many newspapers including Dawn Group, Dunya Media Group and Jang Group adopted pay cuts, lay offs, etc to stay afloat. Pay cuts have become a common affair, with the most esteemed media outlets like Dawn group practising pay cuts. Herald, that was touted to be the face of progressive Pakistani journalism, produced its last edition last year.
The crisis has majorly hurt print media in Pakistan, partially due to the dwindling economy and partly due to the global decline in print media industry.
Despite the challenges, there are a number of English newspapers in Pakistan that are household entities in many urban families of the country. As per the current trends, Dawn, Daily Times, The Nation, Pakistan Observer, The Express Tribune, etc remain the biggest players in English newspapers in Pakistan.
In this article, you will find the English newspapers and news websites of Pakistan.
A. English Newspapers in Pakistan
B. Pakistani News Websites and Radio Channels in English
A. English Newspapers in Pakistan
After Urdu newspapers, English newspapers are widely circulated in Pakistan. They are mostly consumed by policy makers, business class and the urban population of the country. Some of the popular English newspapers in Pakistan include Dawn, Frontier Post, Daily Times, Express Tribune. Etc.
Dawn is Pakistan’s oldest and leading newspaper that is published in English language. The newspaper is counted among the three largest English newspapers of the countries. Dawn is published by Pakistan Herald Publications as a daily. The same publishing house is responsible for publishing Herald magazine, Spider magazine and Aurora magazine in Pakistan.
Dawn was founded by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Delhi, which is now the capital of its neighbouring country India. Upon its inception in 1941, the daily was used as a means to forward Muslim League’s interest among the masses to achieve independence of Pakistan. The first ever edition of Dawn was published at Latifi Press on 12 October, 1942.
“The Dawn will mirror faithfully the views of Hindustan’s Muslims and the All Hindustan Muslim League in all its activities: economic, educational and social and more particularly political, throughout the country fearlessly and independently and while its policy will be, no doubt, mainly to advocate and champion the cause of the Muslims and the policy and programme of the All Hindustan Muslim League, it will not neglect the cause and welfare of the peoples of this sub-continent generally”.
In 1947, a staff from Dawn flew to Karachi under the leadership of Altaf Hussain to set up a local edition in Pakistan. It started on 15 August 1947. Dawn covers syndicated articles from coveted international publications like The Independent, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. On Sundays, it publishes three sections; Ad Buzz, Career and Real Estate for advertisement, job openings and real estate news respectively. In 2011, the newspaper announced its association with Wiki Leaks to for the exclusive first use rights in Pakistan.
A Dawn story titled ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tells military’ triggered controversy in 2016 which led to the resignation of then Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid.
2. Express Tribune
Express Tribune is an English language newspapers based in Pakistan. It is owned by Lakson Group of companies that also owns Daily Express, which is an Urdu language daily. Express Tribune is published daily by Daily Express media group. In fact, it is the flagship publication of the coveted publishing house.
Express Tribune is Pakistan’s only newspaper with international affiliations. Internationally, it has associations with International New York Times, which is the global edition of The New York Times.
The headquarters of Express Tribune is situated in Karachi, however, it also publishes copies from Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar. Launched on 12 April, 2010 in a broadsheet format, Express Tribune came to be known for its distinctive design from other traditional newspapers.
The stories covered by Express Tribune identify with social liberalism and its readership is generally inclined towards mainstream left of Pakistani political opinion. The daily covers topics including politics, current affairs, international affairs, economics, investment, sports and culture. On Sunday, it publishes a glossy magazine titled Express Tribune Magazine that publishes interviews, stories blogs related to food, technology and travel. As of 2012, Express Tribune enjoys the widest online readership in Pakistan as well as among Pakistanis living internationally.
3. The News
The News is another popular newspaper published in Pakistan in English language. It is published by the Jang Group of Newspapers, which is also responsible for publishing of Daily Jang (another Urdu Language daily in Pakistan). The News International was founded in February 1991 by Mir Khalil ur Rehman while his younger brother Mir Shakil Ur Rehman is the current Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper.
The News International is published in standard broadsheet size and enjoys the position of being the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan. The publication operations of the daily take place from Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad. It also maintains an overseas edition that is published from London to cater to the Pakistani readership based in the United Kingdom.
It covers news articles and op-eds on various topics including politics, current affairs, sports, business, entertainment, technology, health and fact check.
Talking about its prominent journalists, Talat Islam (former editor of Herald) is the senior editor at The News while Muhammad Umer spearheads the operations of Karachi section of the newspaper.
Some of the popular journalists and contributors of The News International are; Ghazi Salahuddin, Sultan Mehmood. Ayaz Amir, Masood Hasan, Zia Ur Rehman, Mudassir Rizvi among others.
4. The Nation
The Nation is an English language newspaper published in Pakistan. It is owned by the popular media group named Majid Nizami Trust. The operations of the paper take place from Lahore, Pakistan since its inception in 1986. Currently, Rameeza is operating as its Executive Editor. She is the adopted daughter of renowned Pakistani journalist Late Majid Nizami. He passed away in 2014.
The publishing operations of The Nation is overseen by Nawa-I-Walt Group from Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Karachi. Talking about its history, the daily was founded in 1940 by Hameed Nizami, who managed the editing work as well till his demise in 1962. Later, he was succeeded by Chief Editor Majid Nizami and his nephew, Editor Arif Nizami.
The media group Nawa-i-Walt also owns other popular media outlets like Nawa-i-Waqt (an Urdu language newspaper) and also prints 4 weekly English and Urdu magazines. It also runs a news channel Waqt News TV, which is one of the most watched Urdu-language television channels in Pakistan.
The Nation is one of the most respected English publications in Pakistan for its firm, constructive and unbiased views. It published five editions from three stations. The group is also said to be the biggest player in Punjab and Islamabad provinces of Pakistan.
The Nation covers news articles on various topics including current affairs, politics, city, national, world, sports, foreign, business, etc. Everyday, it publishes a special feature section called The Nation Plus, which covers interesting pieces from the entertainment industry of Pakistan.
Similarly, it has a Young Nation section for the younger reader base and Log On section for the IT professionals and for those interested in the Information Technology field. A separate On Campus edition is published for the young generation of Pakistan that covers education-related news.
The Sunday edition includes a magazine called The Review, which covers various stories and op-eds about politics and society with a special section on the environment and science. It also published a magazine called Life, which covers lifestyle, social issues, leisure, travel and fashion stories.
5. Pakistan Today
Pakistan Today is an English language daily that is published under Nawa Media Corporation, in Berliner format. The publication of the newspaper takes place from four Pakistani cities including Lahore, Punjab, Karachi, Sindh and Islamabad. However, the headquarters of the Pakistani newspaper are situated in Lahore.
Pakistan Today was founded by Arif Nizami in 2010. Nizami is also as the daily’s editor and publisher apart from being the founder. He also founded Nawa Media Corporation, that oversees the publication of Pakistan Today, in 2008.
Arif Nizami is the son of popular Pakistani journalist Hameed Nizami, who passed away in 1962. He was also associated with other popular newspapers including Nawa-i-Waqt and The Nation before finally founding Pakistan Today.
Pakistan Today covers various news articles on topics including news, national and international news, entertainment, foreign, sports, business, health and op-eds. The newspaper is known for its liberal and moderate political inclination and unbiased media reporting.
Apart from the news articles, Pakistan Today also has a satirical column called Khabristan Today. It makes headlines every now and then since its unfamiliar content is sometimes lost on Western audiences. In 2014, its article claiming that Pakistani Council of Islamic Ideology issued a proclamation stating women are basically weaker than men. It sparked controversy on the internet and social media.
6. Business Recorder
Business Recorder is a business newspaper in Pakistan which is published in English language. The newspaper is owned by Business Recorder Group. It was launched on April 27, 1965 by renowned journalist M.A. Zuberi who passed away in 2010.
The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah appointed Zuberi as an apprentice reported in 1945 at Dawn newspaper in Delhi, before the creation of two separate nations. During the patition, he was promoted to become the Senior Assistant Editor at Dawn in 1947. He worked at the same position in Pakistan until 1964, before launching his own newspaper Business Recorder in 1965. Right from its inception, Business Recorder has been one of the most prominent newspapers in Pakistan.
The business daily is published in the broadsheet format from Karachi, Pakistan. The media group Business Recorder also owns TV channels Aaj TV and Aaj News apart from the daily.
7. Daily Times
The Daily Times is one of the most popular English language newspapers in Pakistan. It was launched on April 2, 2002. It is published from Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi simultaneously. The newspaper was owned by Governor of Punjab and Pakistan People’s Party stalwart Salmaan Taseer.
The Daily Times is known for publishing news articles with liberal and secular ideologies. However, later it hogged limelight for its notorious journalists who were deemed controversial in some parts of Pakistan. Despite this, the international media has always heaped praises for this newspaper. Currently, Mohsin Jamil Baig is the chief editor of the newspaper.
8. Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Pakistan & Gulf Economist is a weekly magazine in Pakistan that is published in Karachi. It is a niche magazine, covering news related to business and finance topics. Launched in 1977, it has maintained its position of being one of the leading magazines in the business world for the past three decades. The magazine is available in both print and e-magazine format. It can be easily obtained from the website or can be purchased from the stands.
9. Pakistan Observer
The Pakistan Observer is one of the oldest English newspapers in Pakistan. It is widely read daily in the country. It is published from six cities simultaneously: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Muzzafarabad. Founded in 1988 by popular journalist Zahid Malik, Pakistan Observer is the first newspaper to be published in Islamabad.
Currently, the operations of Pakistan Observer are spearheaded by Faisal Zahid Malik, who also operates as the Editor-in-Chief of the daily. The headquarters of the newspaper are situated in Islamabad along with 4 other offices in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Muzaffarabad.
Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Abdus Sattar is the lead current affairs analyst of Pakistan Observer. He focuses on news articles related to international security. As of 2016, the newspaper was among top 10 in Pakistan as rated by International Media & Newspapers website.
10. Frontier Post
The Frontier Post is an English language daily which was launched in 1984 from the Peshawar city of Pakistan. Founded by Rehman Shah Afridi, the daily was launched with a mission to voice the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan. As of 2106, the publishing of the newspaper takes place from Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta and Kabul.
The Frontier Post is published by the media group Youth Group Limited which also oversees the publishing of The Regional Times of Sindh.
When launched in 1985, the region Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan had no prominent media house or journalists. This lack of concrete journalism in the area led former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor Fazle Haq along with other entrepreneurs founded the newspaper.
Rehman Shah Afridi, who was the founder of Frontier Post, has been deemed a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International owing to his struggle for democracy and press freedom in Pakistan. In 1999, he was arrested for a brief time. Ever since 1999, he has been managing Frontier Post as its Managing Editor.
11. Friday Times
Friday Times, as the name suggests, is an English weekly published in Pakistan. Based in Lahore, the newspaper was first published in May 1989. It was founded by Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi, who are a husband-wife team. They have received several international accolades conferred by Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists for their extraordinary contribution towards journalism.
In 2009, Najam Sethi also bagged the Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers. The idea of Friday Times was conceived by Najam Sethi out of frustration. In fact, he spend a brief amount of time in jail in 1984 on trumped-up copyright charges. Surprisingly, no newspaper resented his arrest.
Later in 1985, Sethi and Mohsin applied for publishing license under the latter’s name since he was too notorious an offender to be granted one. When Mohsin was called into Nawaz Sharif’s office to discuss the vision of newspaper, she told him that she wants to publish a magazine on ‘social chit-chat thing with lots of pictures of parties and weddings.’ The license was finally granted in 1987. Despite this, Mohsin asked for one year delay to avoid the first issue being published under the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq.
Thus, the first edition of Friday Times was published in May 1989.
Under Parvez Musharraf’s regime, Mohsin wrote a monthly humour column titled ‘Mush and Bush’ discussing about a fictional conversation between Musharraf and US President George W. Bush.
Previously, she wrote a column targeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his dim and authoritarian personality and his intolerance of dissent. Her sister Moni Mohsin writes another satirical column for the daily called ‘Diary of a Social Butterfly’ that is about Pakistan’s social elites.
Mohsin has also spoken in support of a liberal Pakistan and against religious fundamentalism. In January 2006, she advocated for the rights of women to participate in a marathon wearing shorts instead of salwar kameez. She also criticised former Pakistani cricket Imran Khan’s entry into politics citing that he doesn’t have a firm grip on history, politics or economy to run a country. She also believed that he could be easily misled.
The 30-year-old weekly currently covers news articles on topics like news, politics, international politics, current affairs, sports, business, lifestyle, entertainment, etc. However, there is no such category on their online website per se.
12. National Herald Tribune
National Herald Tribune is one of the most trusted English dailies in Pakistan. It is published mainly from Islamabad, Pakistan with its publishing centres spread across different cities of the country. Headed by Ghulam Akbar as its Editor-in-Chief, National Herald Tribune is an ABC certified newspaper that covers news articles pertaining to topics like breaking news, national & international politics, business, sports and others. It can be purchased at a price of 15 Pakistani Rupees.
13. Daily Patriot
The Daily Patriot is an English language newspaper from Pakistan. Founded in 2002, it is published everyday from Islamabad. Apart from the physical broadsheet newspaper, it also has an e-paper version available on its website. The newspaper enjoys a great readership among Pakistanis residing outside Pakistan. The daily is owned by Pakistan Group of Newspapers that dates back to 1990 and owned by Sardar Khan Niazi. The media group is also responsible for publishing The Daily Pakistan, Daily Action, Nwa-e Nwab Shah and Pak Watan.
14. Pak Tribune
Pak Tribune is the online website in Pakistan that is known for its unbiased style of reporting. It is absolutely free to use service for information seekers and news readers in Pakistan. Designed by PakCyber, which is the leading IT, media and development consultancy firm in Pakistan, it has a different treatment of news articles as compared to other news websites in the country. It is also independent of government influence on coverage.
The website of Pak Tribune is interactive, making journalism a two-way communication between readers and news publishers. It also has a News Ticker Service. Pakistan Tribune is consumed by media activists, news networks and Pakistani residents inside and outside Pakistan. Launched in October 2002, it reached its milestone of 1.1 million hits in just three days. It also became famous for providing Election Results almost instantaneously as they were announced through an automated database structure.
15. The Financial Daily
The Financial Daily is an English language business newspaper in Pakistan. It is the first investors business daily of the country, established in 2006. The newspaper consists of 8-12 pages of articles and news related to business and economics.
The publishing of The Financial Daily takes places from Karachi and Lahore simultaneously. The newspaper also has its own independent Research House including FCAs, CFAs and highly-qualified research analysts to write detailed articles and opinion pieces on various matters pertaining to economics, business and finance. It also has an Advisory Board which includes many renowned professionals of their trade.
The Financial Daily is a popular business newspaper among businessmen, economists, financiers, etc in Pakistan. In fact, it is the largest selling newspaper in the business community of the country. It publishes exclusive stories, breaking news, exclusive coverage on international issues, stocks, analysis, economic indicators, high profile interviews, company reports, forex, commodities among others.
According to the official website of The Financial Daily, the newspaper enjoys a readership of more than 100,000 dedicated readers in Pakistan. They include policy makers, investors, brokers, bankers, business executives, and economics students of the country.
The electronic version of The Financial Daily is also read in countries including North America, Far East and the Middle East.
16. The Regional Times of Sindh
The Regional Times of Sindh is an English daily newspaper published from Hyderabad and Karachi in Pakistan. It is owned by Youth Group Limited and founded by Kazi Sayeed Akbar. The broadsheet newspaper is published by Youth Productions under the editorship of Umair Ahmad.
The headquarters of The Regional Times of Sindh are situated in Karachi, though the publishing work takes place simultaneously from Hyderabad and Karachi. It also has two sister newspapers namely The Youth International and Pakistan Times.
The editorial team of The Regional Times of Sindh includes:
Umair Ahmad (Editor), Mr. Kazi Sajjad Abbasi (Editor-In-Chief),
Mr. Kazi Saeed Akbar Abbasi (Editor-In-Chief), (Late)
Mr. Amjad Salfi (Marketing Executive), Mr. Aftab Arif Bombia (Asst. Manager PR), Mr. Sohail Akhtar (Accountant), Mr. Aamir Rind (Staff Reporter)
The newspaper covers news around topics like national news, international news, business, sports, entertainment, etc. The newspaper has sub-categories namely: Metro Karachi, National Page, The Heartland, Editorial Page, Global Watch/Money, Sports/Entertainment. The newspaper doesn’t have any online website like other newspapers in Pakistan.
Pakistani News Sites and Radio Channels
Apart from newspapers, there are many English news websites in Pakistan that are committed to publish news stories, articles, opinions, discussions on national, international, business, entertainment, sports, etc topics. Among them, the popular ones are BOL, Al Jazeera, Humari Web, etc to name the few.
Humariweb is one of the most read English as well as Urdu news websites in Pakistan. It is read by people of all age groups and professions including media personnel, teachers, students, etc. Owned by Webiz Media Pvt. Ltd., it is a specialised website established in 2006. The parent company of the website also provides SEO and Web Marketing services to businesses and e-commerce in Pakistan.
The Chief Editor of Humariweb is Abrar Ahmed while other team members include Babar Hafeez, Rizwan Sheikh, Jibran Saeed, Irfan Mirza, and Mussadiq Rafique.
18. Pakistan news from Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is a leading media network across the globe, owned by the Qatari Government. Despite being state-owned, the news network claims to be independent of any government influence. However, it has been time and again criticised for being a propaganda outlet for the Qatari government. It has around 80 bureaus around the world. The renowned website has separate sections for countries across the world, including Pakistan. Under the Pakistan section of Al Jazeera, you can find all the important news articles and opinion pieces regarding national & international topics of the country.
The web-based platform of Al Jazeera in Pakistan is accessible without any fee. It covers news articles pertaining to national & international topics of countries around the world, including Pakistan.
19. Bol News
Bol News is a media conglomerate in Pakistan with its headquarters in Karachi. It is owned by Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh who was also the Chairman and CEO of the network. The media group has its branches spread out in television, digital media, cinema and theatre. The group had its license revoked by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory as its parent company Axact was accused of selling fake degrees in Pakistan.
The head office of Bol News is located in Karachi and is named Bolistan in a peculiar way of naming. It has been reported that the news network used its DSNG vans as barricades to stop journalists from entering the premises when it was raided by FBR after the revelation of the Axact scandal of selling fake degrees. A notice was served to the CEO under Section 26 of the Customs Act 1969 for procuring their broadcasting equipment illegally. Subsequently, he was ordered to produce proof of their equipment being imported legally.
Currently, the website covers news articles related to national, international, business, sports, entertainment, health and science.
20. Radio Pakistan
Radio Pakistan is the national public broadcaster for Pakistan that includes several local stations. Some of these radio stations are as old as seven decades and date back to the inception of Pakistan. It also announced Pakistan’s independence of the colonial regime of the British in 1947.
Radio Pakistan broadcasts news in several languages including: Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Seraiki, Pothwari, Pashto, Hindko, Kohistani, Khowar, Kashmiri, Gojri, Burushaski, Balti, Shina, Wakhi, Hazargi, Brahvi, English, Chinese, Dari, Persian, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Sinhala, Nepali, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and Bengali. It also has an online website through which listeners can access Radio Pakistan. The website also publishes news articles pertaining to national, international, business, sports, etc topics. The news articles are published in English language.
21. Online Indus
Online Indus is a web-based platform providing news articles related to national, international, science, education, health, business, etc topics. It also has an e-paper, FM radio and a web TV channel. The newspaper is published in three languages including Sindhi, English and Urdu. It also has mobile apps for Android and iOS smartphones. Users are also provided with news alerts services for readers who always want to stay updated with the latest news.
Despite being a democratic nation, Pakistan has faced restriction and censorship in the media. In fact, it is ranked as one of the most deadly countries in the world for journalists. Especially in conflict-affected areas like the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Province, the condition of journalists on the field is grievous. Journalists have to deal with propaganda, suppression, threats, coercion and even targeted killings.
Some affected areas in Pakistan are no-go areas for journalists. To keep their heads above waters, many media personnel have adopted self-censorship. This has resulted in a hindrance in free-flow on information from the media to consumers. Among all, Balochistan suffers the most with almost total lack of information. Media in Pakistan calls for stringent methods to safeguard the well-being of media professionals as well as maintenance of free speech in the country.
With this article, we thrive to create a righteous and unbiased repository of information about Pakistani media. We are a team of professional writers who possess a knack of media industry around the world. However, the dynamism of the industry knows no bounds, thus we always prefer accepting suggestions from our readers, especially those who are working in the media industry or who possess thorough knowledge about media scenarios around the world.
We are always looking for suggestions to produce a more concise list.
Please help us with your answers for the below questions in the comment section.
- Which English newspaper is the most read among the urban population of Pakistan?
- Which among these newspapers have both English and Urdu versions?
- Which is the most popular entertainment tabloid in Pakistan?
- Which is the most unbiased newspaper in Pakistan?
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