The 17th death
anniversary of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, the founding father
of the Jang Group of newspapers and magazines, is solemnly
observed every year on January 25.
Mir saheb launched his mission during the Second World
War (1939-1945) in the early 1940 from the then capital
of the British India, Delhi. He started publication
of the daily Jang with a very small capital and was
a self-made man who had no inhibitions about doing manual
work. Such was the level of his hard work that he used
to buy newsprint from the paper market and carry the
reams on his bicycle to the printing press. Once the
newspaper was printed, he would then personally deliver
copies to agents as well as the hawkers.
This scribe had the honour and privilege of serving
under Mir saheb as a Senior Staff reporter of daily
Jang and columnist of weekly Akhbar-e-Jahan and Mag
from 1966 to 1990.
During the initial period of the preparation of the
newspaper Mir saheb performed various tasks along with
his able, dedicated and trusted editorial team, which
included such seminaries as Syed Mohammad Taqi, Raees
Amrohi and Yusuf Siddiqui. Through determination, sheer
hard work and with the assistance and cooperation of
his faithful colleagues, Mir saheb succeeded in making
Jang the number one Urdu newspaper in the world, as
he used to proudly note.
It is an established fact that Mir saheb was a meticulous
planner. He paid personal attention to the coverage
of national functions and important events in advance.
From the beginning of his successful mission, Mir saheb
kept himself abreast of the latest developments in the
printing technology. In this regard he also took practical
steps and imported the most modern printing machines,
cameras and scanners from Germany, the United States,
Great Britain and Japan. Noori Nastaliq, the Urdu computer
composing, was first introduced by Jang. Following the
footsteps of Jang, later on other Urdu newspapers also
switched to this modern process.
With time and through experience Mir saheb had developed
the ability of judging, predicting and seeing things
in their proper perspective. A year after the imposition
of the First Martial Law on October 7, 1958, General
Mohammad Ayub Khan shifted the capital from Karachi,
and Mir saheb started the publication of the daily Jang
from the interim capital Rawalpindi as well.
Under Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman's stewardship, the Jang Group
of newspapers religiously pursued a neutral policy.
His aim was to give coverage to all sections of society,
including the smallest political parties and organisations
while refraining from taking sides with any political
party or group.
In October 1962, Mir saheb started publication of Daily
News, Karachi which is the premier English evening newspaper
of Pakistan. Following this, in 1966 Jang Group launched
weekly Akbar-e-Jahan in colour, which within a matter
of years managed to achieve the largest circulation
in the country as well as the widest readership in Pakistan
Apart from this Jang also started its publication of
six issues weekly from the British capital, London in
early 1970s. Hence, it became the first newspaper of
the subcontinent that was simultaneously published from
Asia and Europe. Later on, Jang made its appearance
from Quetta, the capital of Balochistan and Lahore which
is the seat of powers of the biggest province-Punjab,
in 1980s. The pictorial and coloured weekly the Mag
was launched in 1982. The following year, the English
morning newspaper, The News was launched in February
1991, simultaneously from Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi
For more than half a century, during Mir saheb's life
time, all the projects started by the Jang Group, emerged
leaders in their respective fields. The credit definitely
goes to the devotion and hard work on part of Mir saheb
and his employees. The extraordinary success was the
result of the combination of various factors, including
his selection of creative teams.
Mir saheb was lucky in acquiring the services of some
of the top columnists in the country, including Majeed
Lahori, Ibrahim Jalees, Shaukat Thanvi, Niaz Fatehpuri,
Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Pir Ali Mohammad Rashedi, Nasrullah
Khan and Inam Wali Khan Durrani.
A large number of top news gatherers and presenters
of the Islamic Republic, including Yusuf Siddiqui, Inam
Aziz, Athar Ali, Irshad Ahmad Baig Chughtai, Afzal Siddiqui,
Ajmal Dehalvi, Mahmood Ahmed Madni, Yunus Riaz, Akhtar
Alam, Shafi Aqeel and Hafiz Mohammad Islam left no stone
unturned to make Jang an outstanding newspaper of Pakistan.
The decisive edge which publications of the Jang Group
enjoyed and still enjoy over their competitors is due
to the untiring efforts of their creative staff and
production teams. The combined efforts of these workers
under the able and dynamic leadership of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
were instrumental in continuously increasing the circulation,
as well as widening their leadership.
Mir saheb appreciated the dedication and positive contribution
of his staff members. The celebrated columnists were
the most pampered members of the organisation and Mir
saheb often gladly tolerated the liberties taken by
The most appreciable quality of Mir saheb however was
that he did not believe in creating any bureaucratic
hurdles. In this regard he used to publicly say that
a contented worker is an asset to an organisation. He
was easily accessible and any member of the staff from
editors to the messenger boys could meet him at any
time of the day.
The top newspaper magnate of the country, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
was never negligent of the welfare of his workers. While
other press barons opposed and resisted the formation
of the trade unions, Mir saheb willingly allowed these
in his newspapers and magazines.
Yusuf Faruqui who served in Jang Karachi from 1953
to 1973 and Jang International, London from 1973 to
1983, in different capacities told this scribe during
a meeting in the British capital that Mir saheb believed
in the dignity of labour, since he himself had started
from scratch and had gone through all sorts of pain,
pressures and hardships to convert his organisation
into an institution and the biggest chain of newspaper
Faruqui informed that Jang started paying bonuses to
its employees even before the enforcement of the First
Wage Award from January 1, 1961 and the yearly earned
leaves were also increased to 30 days at that time.
Putting the great saying, 'eternal vigilance is the
price of liberty' into practice, Mir saheb stayed awake
until the very last copy of the newspaper was sent in
the early hours of the morning. Likewise in the absence
of the staff he used to rush to the airport himself
for receiving the delivery of photographs sent through
PIA parcels from upcountry at midnight in order to include
them in the morning issue.
During his career which spanned over more than half
a century Mir saheb did not nurture any political ambition.
However, for a brief stint in the mid 1950s Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
was elected as a councilor of the Karachi Municipal
Corporation (KMC) from the Artilery Maidan, Karachi
by securing the highest number of votes.
A man like Mir saheb is born once a millennium and it
was indeed an honour to work with a man of his caliber.