January 25, 2013
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Remembering MKR: A solemn tribute to a brave journo

Every year thousands of people commemorate the exceptional services of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman rendered towards the Pakistani print media. Mir Saheb, as he was popularly known, was a painstakingly meticulous journalist who never jeopardised professional ethics or his principles at any cost. His innovative ideas transformed the face of Urdu journalism and set an example for others in the field, to follow.

In order to shed light on his qualities and to bring together the views of his coevals on MKR, various interviews were conducted by The News  to honour the 21st anniversary of the founding father of the Jang Group. In this regard, Syed Mahmood Hashmi, the Chief Executive of Orient Advertising, one of the leading advertising agencies working in Pakistan since 1953, was approached to share his recollections. 

“Mir Saheb was a humble and modest human being, with a journalistic acumen that defined the future of the print media in Pakistan.  He worked diligently for the welfare of the society and always proposed justice and equality for everyone,” Mahmood Hashmi commented, praising MKR for his matchless professional zeal.

Being a part of the media and advertising industry for a long time himself, and taking into account his father, S H Hashmi’s association with MKR, Syed Mahmood Hashmi recalled, “As a journalist and publisher, Mir Saheb is a guiding light for all those related to the media industry in Pakistan. It was Mir Saheb’s aspiration that promoted Urdu language in this region through the publication of daily Jang.”

Remembering the achievements and contributions of Mir Saheb in the field of print media, Mr Hashmi expressed, “Mir Saheb’s journalistic skills and instincts were based upon the principles of truth and fairness, and through his writings, he brought forth issues related to social injustices, poverty and human rights.”

“It would not be wrong to say that Mir Sahib is the pioneer of Urdu newspapers in Pakistan, which are widely circulated and read across all sections of the society, to date”, he acknowledged.

Mahmood Hashmi, resenting the dearth of good and honest journalists in the contemporary society feels that the void created by MKR’s death would take a very long time to fill. “Had Mir Saheb been alive, he would have assumed the status of the father of journalism in Pakistan for aspirant students of the media industry, owing to his vast experience and analytical skills on various issues,” Mahmood Hashmi keened. “For young journalists, Mir Saheb’s personality is an institute in himself, and though he is no more alive, the journalistic traditions and ethics that he revived in Pakistan in the form of his newspapers would always be a luminary example for newcomers. Now that the media has become more empowered and advanced, people who wish to pursue a career in newspaper writing should come forward and make their mark in the said field,” said the Chief Executive of the advertising agency, Mahmood Hashmi.

Paying tribute to Mir Saheb’s courageous stance and appreciating the way he handled the restrictions imposed by the dictators, Mahmood Saheb eulogised,

“During the Marital Law of 1958, newspapers were strictly overseen by the authorities to filter out any content that was written against the military rule.  Even under such circumstances, Jang withstood the pressures and continued to be the largest circulated daily of the time. MKR proved his professional insightfulness and besides honouring his commitment towards the readers, he also shared his sentiments with columnists, intellectuals and writers to be wary of the limits set by Martial Law authorities, while criticising and analysing the political situation. The appropriate response of Mir Saheb not only benefited Daily Jang, but also proved to be the leading light for all other newspapers,” he added.

Further sharing his memories of the tie-up he had with MKR, Mahmood Hashmi recollected, “In early 80s, I was quite young, and went to attend a New Tax Form meeting with the then Finance Minister, Dr Mahboob-ul-Haq, where Mir Saheb was also present. Since I was very outspoken regarding my viewpoints, Mir Sahib took me out of the room to advise me, “not to make big commitments in a government meeting”. Cherishing Mir Saheb’s suggestion, Mahmood Hashmi concluded, “His timely advice saved us from big financial problems and proved to be a great learning for the future.”

“I have seen this country go
through many ups and down but
seeing the Pakistani army retreat in Dakah shocked me the most. It is, indeed, a great tragedy and I don’t have words to express my grief. As a journalist, I think
freedom of press means that
I should have the freedom to write what I want. I should be given the opportunity to express myself. I should be free from any kinds of constraints and fear of being boycotted by the people or my office being attacked.”