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A legend that was
By Abdul Hameed Chappra
Sowing and reaping, is a long and continuous process. Usually the work done by one generation benefits the future generations, but Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, the founding father of Jang Group of Newspapers, had the distinguished honour of achieving his great mission during his life time.

On the occasion of the 16th death anniversary of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, it is a privilege for this scribe to pay tributes to the memorable personality whose immense contribution resulted in building an institution in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as opposed to the civilian despots and military rulers who destroyed such institutions.

Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, launched his mission during the Second World War (1939-1945), in the early 1940s by starting the publication of 'Daily Jang' from Delhi. The newspaper received the distinction of playing a glorious role in the independence movement, particularly for the creation of Pakistan.

Even in the undivided India Mir saheb succeeded in attracting gems like Yusuf Siddiqui, Syed Mohammad Taqi and Raees Amrohvi to his newspaper.

Mir saheb started his maiden venture with a scrap, but through sheer hard work and with the cooperation and support of his faithful colleagues, succeeded in making 'Jang' the number one Urdu newspaper in the world (as he used to proudly note).
Mir saheb was amongst the senior reporters of the Daily Jang and Daily News (the premier English eveninger), he was also one of the founder columnists of the popular Urdu weekly, 'Akhbar-e-Jahan' and English Weekly the 'Mag'. Working with Mir saheb I got many opportunities to learn from his experiences and guidance. He encouraged and appreciated the hard work of his employees.

Learning is a process, which starts from the cradle and continues till the grave. This was the first lesson, which I learned during my association of about a quarter of a century, with Mir saheb and the Jang group.

For 16 to 18 hours daily he used to indulge in multifarious pursuits, he also kept himself abreast of the latest developments in printing technology. He imported the most modern printing machines, cameras and scanners from Germany, the United States, Great Britain and Japan so as to improve the quality of journalism in Pakistan.

Noori Nastaliq, the Urdu computer composing was initially introduced by 'Jang' and later on the other Urdu newspapers also adopted this process.

Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman had the ability to judge predict, and to see things in their proper perspective. He was a meticulous planner and gave personal attention to the coverage of all local, national and international events, functions, and important occasions.
An year after the imposition of the first Martial Law on 7th October, 1958 by General Mohammad Ayub Khan, the federal capital was transferred from Karachi to Rawalpindi.

During this period, under Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman's stewardship, the Jang group started publication of the newspaper in the new interim capital as well and religiously and practically pushed an independent policy. He believed in providing equal coverage to all the sections of the society, including the smallest political organisations, groups, factions, and his paper remained unbiased towards all the political, religious and ethnic groups.

In October 1962, Mir saheb started the publication of Daily News from Karachi and in 1966 the Jang group launched Urdu weekly 'Akhbar-e-jehan' in technicolour.

The publication of the daily Urdu 'Jang', six issues a week, started from London in the early 1970s. Hence Jang became the first Urdu newspaper to be simultaneously published in Asia and Europe. Later on, 'Jang' also made its appearance from Quetta and Lahore in the 1980s.

In February 1991, the English daily 'The News' was launched simultaneously from Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi and later on from London. It was a historical achievement by Mir saheb, as the projects started by Jang group emerged as leaders in their respective fields. This extra-ordinary success was the result of the combination of various factors, including his selection of creative teams. Mir saheb was lucky enough to attract almost all the top columnists of the country including Majeed Lahori, Ibrahim Jalees, Shaukat Thanvi, Niaz Fatehpuri, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Pri Ali Mohammad Rashdi, Nasrullah Khan and Inam Wali Durrani to his organisation.

Some of the best news gatherers and presenters including Yusuf Siddiqui, Inam Aziz, Ather Ali, Irshad Ahmed Baig Chughtai, Afzal Siddiqui, Ajmal Dehalvi, Mahood Ahmad Madni, Zafar Rizvi, Yunus Riaz, Timsal, Askari, Akhtar Alam and Hafiz Mohammad Islam and the serving editor Mehmood Sham left no stone unturned to make 'Daily 'Jang' an outstanding newspaper of Pakistan.

Veteran writer, journalist, author and poet Shafi Aqeel also served the Jang group for about four and a half decades.
The decisive edge, which the publications of the Jang group enjoy over their competitors, is due to the untiring efforts of their creative staff and production team. The combined and collective efforts of these workers under the able leadership of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman were instrumental in continuously increasing the circulation as well as the readership of various organs of the Jang group.

Mir saheb appreciated the dedication and positive contribution of his workers. The celebrated columnists were among the most pampered members of the organisation and he gladly tolerated the liberties taken by some of them. He did not believe in creating bureaucratic hurdles, instead he believed that a talented worker is an asset to the organisation. He was easily accessible by all and any member of the staff could approach him any time.

Arguably the top newspaper magnate of the country Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman was never negligent of the welfare of the workers. While other press barons opposed and resisted them, the formation of trade unions was supported and welcomed by Mir saheb. It was due to this reason that during his life time the Jang group was always first to implement Wage Awards for the journalists and other newspaper workers.

He believed in the famous saying that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty", therefore he did not sleep till the last copy was sent to the press in the early hours of the morning and in the absence of the staff he himself would rush to the airport for receiving the delivery of photographs of latest events sent through PIA parcels from upcountry at midnight in order to include them in the morning issues. During his career which, spanned over a period of more than half a century, Mir saheb did not nurture any political ambition.

However, for a brief stint in the mid 1950s, he was elected as a councilor of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) from Artillery Maidan, Karachi.
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