MKR—fearless media mogul
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Recollecting unforgettable memoirs
By Shahzada Irfan, Zaib Azkaar Hussain & Buraq Shabbir
The pioneer of Urdu journalism in Pakistan
By Muhammad Arshad Imam
In the loving memory of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
By Khalidul Aziz
Kindness and humility — the defining traits of MKR
By Muhammad Suleman

MKR—fearless media mogul
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

I must confess and be grateful to Allah, the Most Merciful, for having given me enormous opportunities to learn about life from the lives of great men and women that I have had the honour to know and be associated with. On top of the galaxy is late Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman - my mentor, my guide, and my teacher in journalism for more than quarter of a century - a rare breed of human kind who acquitted himself well to the description very well put in verse by great English poet Emily Bronte,

“No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal arming me from fear.”

Indeed. That was Mir Saheb. And surely, Pakistan needs a journalist/media tycoon like him today more than ever before. He would have defied all sorts of pressures and intimidations and stood aloft against state and non-state actors gnawing the very roots of his beloved country. He would have dared to call a spade a spade in the given ominous circumstances that Pakistan is passing through to save the country from being scavenged by vultures of all religious hues.

I joined Daily News just when it was to be launched in 1962 as an apprentice to seek pastures anew, to strive, to struggle and not to yield. Why I chose journalism as my career while my father wanted me to practice law, was the defiant spirit of the time against first ever Martial Law in the country. Not many pen-pushers had the spine to defy the military dictator, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, and those who did suffer enormously. MKR’s chain of newspapers -known for disseminating news and views unpalatable for the General and his coterie including civil and judicial bureaucracy was always on the chopper. Mir Saheb being “no trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere” was the leading light in defence of democracy, freedom of expression and association.

A sprouting young bunch of journalists—like present editor S M Fazal, Muhammad Jami and myself - were recruited to help the seniors like late Shamim Ahmed, Zamir Siddiqui (both former editors), Suleman Meenai, Khawaja Ibtesam Ahmed, Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, Zamir Niazi—in the launch of the most powerful ever English evening newspaper in Pakistan—yet another feather in the cap of the most dynamic media entrepreneur that Mir Saheb was.
In no time, Daily News became the most vociferous voice of public dissent in a graveyard of total subservience. The most sterling quality of Mir Saheb was non-interference in the editorial policy of his newspapers. I used to wonder, was it right what the French philosopher Voltaire had believed as a matter of his faith, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it”.

As Editor of Daily News (early 1969), I experienced Voltaire’s dictum of free expression fully translated into practice by Mir Saheb. We often differed in views, tenor and their presentation in the paper, but never did Mir Saheb stop me from pursuing an editorial policy that was scathingly different from his other papers. I found him not once but several times at loggerheads with the government defending Daily News’ “journalistic adventures”.
Whether it was Ayub’s “decade of decadence”, General Yahya’s rule of disintegration or General Ziaul Haq’s eleven years of brutally barbarian rule—I got away with the most vitriolic criticism I had indulged of them. I had the confidence that Mir Saheb was at my back “to defend to death” whatever I felt was my right to say as editor. I remember the day when he received a call from General Zia to sack me and Mir Saheb was as firm as a rock to tell him point blank “No, most certainly not.” 
Mir Saheb was an unbeatable judge of humankind—men and women. He could see through people, he could forecast how they would turn out and he was past master in understanding currents, cross currents and under currents of politics and issues of geo-political nature. He hardly miscalculated to the extent that the perception was that probably some powers had briefed him before the occurrence of an event.

The other day, in a programme about the ominous 16th of December, Geo’s Hamid Mir made an excellent presentation about the tragedy that dismembered Pakistan as a socio-economic and political fall out of two military rulers—Ayub and Yahya. Since most of it had to do with our ignominious surrender at Dhaka in 1971 before Indian General Jagjeet Singh Arora, I would like to add here one major incident that not many people know was a precursor to the creation of Bangladesh.

Following the six-day Arab-Israel War of 1967, my Editor Zameer Siddiqui Saheb, who used to work as Pakistan Correspondent of Associated Press (AP), had gone to Egypt to cover the consequences of the war that had led to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s resignation and I was given charge by him to officiate as the Acting Editor. It was the month of June.

The newspapers had a variety of wire services besides their own team of reporters as the source and supply of news stories. Only APP and PPI had wire services while local agencies, recognised and subsidised by government, like UPP of Qutubuddin Aziz Saheb and NNS run by Zaigham Hussain were cycle services. It was Zaigham’s agency that sent a typed story that stated that CIA had planned to carve a new state in South East Asia by the name of Bangsam, comprising Pakistani portion of Eastern Wing and Indian state of Assam. We published the story in Daily News. It was like walking in the hornets nest. The American embassy protested.

Few days later, I received a heavy envelope in local post. I found intriguing photocopies of American classified documents—letters allegedly addressed by the US Secretary of State to American ambassador posted in Delhi at that time. The documents contained a scheme of things much  similar to what Daily News had printed under the caption—CIA plans creation of new state Bangsam in South-East Asia—(can be checked from Daily News files of June/July 1967 front page). They had also mentioned the names of the key players in the whole conspiracy who were required to be given all-out support by the missions.
The contents of the mysterious envelope drowned me in a pool of sweat. Without sharing the alarming contents with my colleagues, I rushed to Mir Saheb. When he read the documents, he, too, was not a happy man. Years before the fall of Dhaka, he would repeatedly plead to the people, who mattered, to “read the writing on the wall”. Obviously, the mysterious envelope was loaded with ominous tidings.

After a great deal of deliberation, he phoned President Ayub’s Military Secretary, Brigadier Nawazish. Mir Saheb told him that he would like to meet the President urgently. Next day, Mir Sahib went to Islamabad, met President Ayub and showed him the “classified” documents that clearly spelled out breakup of Pakistan. Ayub summoned his IB chief—some gentleman whose last name was Rizvi—and asked him to check the veracity of the “classified” documents. Later, Mr Rizvi interviewed Mir Saheb to find out more about the documents and their sources while declaring them to be forged. I know that not-so-satisfied Mr Rizvi had few sessions with Mir Saheb and then over to me.

Mr Rizvi met me in Karachi accompanied by his Karachi IB Director—a Christian with first name as Mascarenhas. Both of them questioned me about my antecedents, my contacts in the Russian embassy. Later, Mascarenhas met me many times. Only when I complained to Mir Saheb that the IB chap had become a nuisance for me and had been pestering me, Mir Saheb took a very serious note of it. He talked to Ayub and I was spared of the torture by the failure of our intelligence agencies to read the writing on the wall.

What had been in the so-called “classified” documents came true in 1971. The key players, who were mentioned in the documents as part of the conspiracy for the establishment of the new state in South East Asia, came out in their true colours as the associates of the founder of Bangladesh. The most ironic part of the “drama of the documents” was that Karachi IB Director Mascarenhas’s brother, Anthony Mascarenhas—Assistant Editor of Karachi’s Morning News, proved to be a mole in the 1971 war.

Tony collected a lot of material incriminating Pakistani military’s so-called genocide in East Pakistan and fled to UK  and got most of his stuff published in Sunday Times where he worked for 14 years. He also wrote books, “The Rape of Bangladesh (1972)” and “Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood (1986)”. Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, used to say that Mascarenhas’s article, “Genocide”, in Sunday Times, led her “to prepare the ground for India’s armed intervention”.

This story has remained unpublicised. Mir Saheb used to sadly regret that he tried to forewarn Ayub but they were all blind to writing on the wall. Or was it deliberate as Hamid Mir had rightly quoted from late Justice Muneer’s book, “Jinnah to Zia”, that perhaps Ayub wanted East Pakistan to go separate. Until his end, Mir Saheb used to lament the withering of Jinnah Sahib’s Pakistan. The best tribute to Mir Saheb would be to revert back to Mr Jinnah’s vision of a democratic country, with no room for religious extremism and secular governance, ensuring the greatest good of the largest number.

—The writer is the former Editor of Daily News, Weekly Mag and former longest-serving High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK

Recollecting unforgettable memoirs
By Shahzada Irfan, Zaib Azkaar Hussain & Buraq Shabbir

Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman is, without a shadow of doubt, the pioneer of journalism in Pakistan. He led a long career as an able journalist, and throughout his calling, he had to put his personal life and family at stake to continue the struggle for the freedom of speech in Pakistan. Moreover, he strived for the sake of social justice and humanity at the cost of his health and wealth, and never gave up despite all odds. Many scholars and journalists called Mir Saheb the Benjamin Franklin of Pakistan because of his untiring services for the country as well as for upholding social rights and the development of the masses. Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman succeeded in making his newspaper, Jang, the largest-circulating Urdu daily in West Pakistan, and continued to make further improvements in it throughout his life.

His tireless efforts made Jang Group the biggest newspaper empire in Pakistan. As a good journalist, Mir Saheb had deep interest in people, places and events. He was a great writer and had a broad educational background coupled with wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from, which made his analytical skills even sharper.

Although the media industry in Pakistan has been revolutionised and has seen unprecedented success over the years, yet Mir Saheb is still seen as one of the pioneers of journalistic traditions in the country. As a matter of fact, contemporary media organisations cannot work without an entire team of managers. However, Mir Saheb singlehandedly established his organisation, wherein he not only worked as a journalist, but also oversaw accounts, editorial department, marketing and advertising. He made all this possible only through his industriousness, well-defined goals and his definite course of action.

Everyone, who has ever worked with him, knows the level of his involvement with his profession. The personal opinions of Mir Saheb’s peers clearly reveal his passion for the field of journalism and his devotion towards his work. Over here, we have collected the views of some  of the luminaries who have had the privilege of interacting and/or working with Mir Saheb.

Mian Saifur Rahman
Editor Reporting, The News, Lahore

I have had the privilege of regularly meeting Mir Khaliur Rahman Saheb when The News was launched. At that time, I was inducted as the head of Investigations Cell in Lahore. Later on, different sections of the newspaper were merged into one and I was made the chief reporter and head of this section. It was a great initiative taken by the group and a lot of people were discussing the prospects and challenges pertaining to this project. Mir Saheb was highly concerned about these affairs and would visit different offices to boost the morale of the staff. I remember, one day he visited the Lahore office of The News and came to the reporting section where I was working on my computer. There was no protocol or earlier intimation about his visit and he simply walked into the office like any other person.

As I had seen him earlier, I recognised him and stood up from my seat to welcome him. He asked me to sit down and continue with my work which he believed was more important than anything else. By that time, the other reporters had also become aware of his presence in the room. Many of these reporters had seen him for the first time and could not recognise him. I introduced him to these reporters who were too impressed by his personality, simplicity and humility. Despite his instructions to us to continue with our work, we all stood up and gave him a standing ovation.

I have known Mir Saheb as a very kind person who had great respect for professionals. There were standing instructions for all the staffers that photos of Mir Saheb and his family members should not be carried in the publications of Jang Group. He believed in journalism for all and launched the newspapers that catered to the requirements of the young generation and a much larger target audience. Earlier, the newspapers would be ideology based and provided content that suited the needs of particular groups. Mir Saheb wanted news content to be impartial and advised journalists to present the perspective of all the stakeholders in their news stories.

Wasif Nagi
Chairman, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Society & Editor Health, Education and Current Affairs, Jang

I vividly remember the day when I first met Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Saheb. I had applied for a job in Jang Lahore and was keenly awaiting response. One day, I received a message at home via my landline phone that Mir Saheb and his son Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman were coming to Lahore and they would like me to appear for an interview.

It was June 5, 1981. I reached the office which was located at Allama Iqbal Road, Lahore, at that time. The interview went very well. An interesting thing was that Mir Saheb spoke in Punjabi and I responded in Urdu. He was very fond of speaking Punjabi. I also enjoyed listening to his Punjabi but did not take the liberty to respond in the same language.

He asked me whether I would be willing to work in the fields of education and health. His point was that these highly important sectors were not the priority of journalists who mostly wanted to cover politics, crime and showbiz. I agreed to cover these sectors and was offered a job in Jang. We also discussed the idea of holding a regular forum on topics related to these issues. Things moved on smoothly and we were able to hold our first forum on education sector in September 24, 1981. The topic was “semester system” and its report was published on October 6, 1981.
There are many memorable incidents that shed light on Mir Saheb’s personality but I will recall only two due to space constraints. The first one is about his visit to the Jang soon after the staff had shifted to the existing building. As he entered the hall, he came towards me and stopped next to me. I could not see him coming as I was sitting on a chair and going through sheets of paper. He bent down and picked up some pages which were lying on the floor.

Addressing me, he said that these papers were hardly worth two paisas each but these should not be wasted. He said that he had worked very hard to put things together and felt hurt when he found that those things, however minor, are not being valued.

The other incident took place when he came to office on a rickshaw. I was standing outside the office so I moved forward to greet him. The rickshaw driver asked him to pay Rs 15 at which he said that he had paid Rs 12 a day ago for the same journey. At this, the rickshaw driver spoke rudely and asked Mir Saheb to either pay the demanded amount or simply say that he could not afford to pay the fare. I was hearing this conversation from a close distance. I lost my temper and walked toward the rickshaw driver to reprimand him. Mir Saheb intervened and asked me to stay calm. He paid him Rs 15 and moved towards the office without saying a single world.

I was amazed to find that the founder and owner of a leading media house was so tolerant, patient and forgiving. He did not even respond to the harsh remark of the rickshaw owner.

Munir Ahmed Qureshi
(Munnu Bhai) - Writer, poet, playwright, columnist

I knew the family very well as Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Saheb’s wife was a class fellow of my aunt. Mir Saheb was a very kind person and always appreciated good work. He had a very keen eye for talent and would never miss an opportunity to bring the people, who he thought were good at work, to his group. I remember meeting him as a member of the Second Wageboard which was formed to discuss the remunerations of the journalist community. He was the representative of the owners of the media houses whereas I represented the journalists.

During the meeting, he told me that he would one day make me a part of his team. At that time, I thought it was just a gentle remark and a way of appreciating my work but soon I realised that he really meant it. Then one fine day, I received a letter. It was sent to me by Mir Saheb, through his son Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. The letter was a formal offer for me to join daily Jang which was being launched from Lahore (in 1981). I joined it and to date, I am a part of Jang Group.

I have known him as a very caring employer who loved his staff a lot. He was well aware of the issues that his staffers could face. He was a self-made professional who knew everything about newspaper production and the processes involved. He liked my work and would always give his highly valuable feedback on my writings. When he died, it was a great shock for me, as he was not only an employer to me, but a patron, a mentor and just like an elder in the family.

S M Fazal
Editor, Daily News

As far as I know Mir Saheb, he was a self-disciplined man who greatly valued his own as well as others’ time. This is the reason that he achieved phenomenal success as a journalist and became the owner of the largest newspaper empire in the country. Working under him for many years, I used to marvel at him for keeping himself aware of the working of every department of his vast organisation and at the same time, staying abreast of the latest news. Moreover, despite having separate teams for all the departments, he himself used to take active part in press reporting unlike other newspaper owners. Whether it was field work, such as covering events or conducting interviews, or reporting, news writing or so, his talent and enthusiasm was remarkable in all the spheres.

Other than that, he was aware of the capabilities of each and every journalist working under his command. He would himself judge and evaluate every new entrant and used to reward the workers, based on their performance. This provided us with a sense of security since we knew that, if we are honest with our profession, our work will be praised and rewarded by him. He valued his sincere workers and also remembered them even after they left the job.

Though Mir Saheb had complete control over things, he also gave freedom to the employees simultaneously. He never imposed his preferences on them as he wanted them to take decisions on their own. He had given full freedom to us, the editors, in terms of deciding for newsworthy items and also defended us, when needed, from the reactions of people and groups opposing it.

Suhail Waraich

Senior anchor, host and Editor political affairs, Jang Group

I have learned a lot from Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Saheb who was an institution in himself. He would often visit newsroom and guide people on where to place certain news items and how to handle the sensitive ones. I remember once he asked us to carry the picture of General Zia-ul- Haq along with the news about his visit to Lahore. He said he (Zia ul Haq) would be pleased to find his photo placed there.

Mir Saheb would not approve of the idea of dropping any news. Once there was news about a likely coup against General Zia’s regime in a foreign paper. We were wary about carrying it as we knew it would disturb General Zia. However, Mir Saheb guided us and we carried this news item in a single column on the inside pages. This way the news was published without creating any major nuisance.

Mir Saheb was a very humble and simple person and he advised people never to waste resources. At the same time, he would release huge funds to buy the most advanced machinery and technological equipment for his organisation. This proves that he was not a spendthrift but he very well knew where to invest his money.

He cared a lot about his employees and I can share a personal experience here to explain this. Once I carried a news item about Dr Basharat Elahi, a close relative of General Zia ul Haq, who had got loans written off by banks. I was teaching in Lahore at that time. This person got offended and got me transferred to Taunsa -a distant place located at the farthest end of Punjab in the south. I had to change buses to reach this spot. Nobody could dare to reverse this transfer as it had been done on the behest of General Zia’s relative.

Sometime later, after the death of General Zia, Mir Saheb came to Lahore to join the inaugural congregation of Fida League which ultimately became PML-N. He was also supposed to meet Mian Nawaz Sharif during this visit. My colleagues told him about my case and requested him to bring it up during the meeting. Mir Saheb pursued the matter and got my transfer orders issued on the spot.

Muhammad Nasir
Senior Editor, Geo TV Network

I  always considered myself as Mir Saheb’s pupil as he trained me in practical journalism.  Mir Saheb was the most forward-looking journalist of his time and he was the first one to import modern machinery and other equipment for the advancement of journalism in Pakistan. In the same way, it was Jang Group that first imported a fax machine. Mir Saheb told me that the concept of importing a fax machine was very rare in Pakistan and apart from him, the only other fax machine to exist here at that time was at the residence of famous politician, Pir Pagara Saheb. The fact that made Mir Saheb very kind towards me was a copy of faxed message that contained a speech of American diplomat, Henry Kissinger. The speech that we received was very dim and Mir Saheb had asked the sender to try again and again but we could not get a clear version. Therefore, I requested Mir Saheb to give me some time and I would try to read the text with full concentration. After employing considerable hard work, I rewrote the whole text and this really impressed Mir Saheb. I still remember Mir Saheb’s words of appreciation for me when he said:

“Young man, you are very talented and from now on, you would sit in my room and assist me.” During this period, I noticed that Mir Saheb never discouraged anyone and gave a patient hearing to people’s complaints and grievances. He would then present facts and figures and would present his suggestions as per the requirements of the newspaper. In fact, due to his kindness, encouragement and mentoring, I greatly progressed in my journalistic career later on and worked on many senior posts in Jang Group.

Khawar Naeem Hashmi
A leading broadcast journalist, writer, and political activist

Mir Khalil-urRahman Saheb was a person with great qualities. He was a self-made person, who struggled throughout his life and built an empire from a scratch. He had worked hard, so he always valued hard work and had great respect for committed workers.

I knew him even before joining Jang Group. He would often come to our house to see my father -Naeem Hashmi - who was a renowned actor, writer, director, producer and a poet. Mir Saheb had a great liking for him and admired him for his contributions to different fields of literature, art and culture.

He also knew me as a labour activist and a trade unionist. I remember once we were holding a protest in Karachi in support of our fellow journalists. Mir Saheb allowed us to gather inside the Jang office which was no doubt a big favour.

He was the pioneer of modern journalism and it was he who took me onboard when Jang was launched from Lahore. I was assigned the responsibility of establishing this newspaper in the city and I did my best to fulfill this responsibility under his guidance.

He was the person who set up the precedent of giving salaries to journalists on time and sharing profits in the form of bonuses. Earlier, the journalists were poorly paid and sometimes they had to wait for ages to get rewarded. I would say that the financial stability and prosperity that many journalists enjoy today is due to him and the standards that he had set.

When I say he was the pioneer of modern journalism, I mean it. Geo Television became a roaring success and one major reason for this was that its launching team comprised journalists who had been trained by Mir Saheb.

Sahar Ansari
Poet, educationist, journalist and a critic

I used to frequent Jang office (located near Burns Road¸ Karachi, at that time) to meet Shafi Aqeel, Athar Nafees, and Sultana Mehar et al. During my visits, whenever I came across Mir Saheb, I always found him to be very kind and encouraging towards visiting writers. He always appreciated writers, poets, critics, scholars and educationists and whenever he would get a chance to interact with them, he would not only treat them with kindness but would also provide guidance. There are various literary figures, including Raees Amrohavi, Syed Muhammad Taqqi, Muhammad Shafi Aqeel, Athar Nafees, etc., who had a history of affiliation with Jang Group.

Raees Amrohavi used to write ‘Qita’at’ for Daily Jang and later on, all his ‘Qita’at’ were compiled in the form of four collections and published by Mir Saheb. Similarly, renowned scholars like Jameeluddin A’ali were among Mir Saheb’s close friends.

I remember once Mir Saheb had asked me to write for Jang. He told me that there were a lot of books in his office that needed to be reviewed and he found me suitable for the task. The offer made me very excited but since I had a many irons in the fire related to education and literature at that time, it was not possible for me to make a commitment. It was, however, an honour for me.

Despite being the owner of the biggest media group in Pakistan, Mir Saheb would always pay attention to others’ opinions. This can be gauged from the fact that at some events, when Mir Saheb would be invited as a chief guest, he always paid rapt attention to the speeches delivered by others and would even take notes. When it would be his turn to deliver the speech as the chief guest, he would address all the points raised by other speakers.

Mir Saheb was also a very grateful person and whenever someone would do him any favour, he would always acknowledge it. For instance, when Mir Saheb decided to set up Jang office in London, he sent a number of people, including Ina’am Aziz, to UK. However, six of his staff members, who were entrusted with this task, faced difficulties in the issuance of visas. This made Mir Saheb quite upset as the project was getting delayed.

At that time, I was affiliated with the Education Department and was also working for a magazine published by the UK Embassy. When I learnt about this problem, I used my contacts and personally requested the local diplomats deputed at the UK embassy in Pakistan to arrange visas for these six staffers of Jang. The diplomats obliged and issued visas. Mir Saheb always remembered this little favour and always showed his gratitude towards me.

Tishna Barelvi
Poet, journalist and critic

I had the honour of working with MKR in the 50s. To me, Mir Saheb’s personality was like that of the Quaid-i-Azam because of his style and caliber. He was blessed with a very good decision-making power. It is solely because of his strong personal appeal and unfaltering composure that made Jang Group a great success. He was a true representative of not only his paper but was also a patron of journalism in Pakistan.
During the early days of Jang, Mir Saheb, despite being the owner of the paper, worked like a professional journalist. From reporting to editing to production work, he excelled in everything.  He was also the expert in showbiz journalism.

Mir Saheb was very lenient towards his hard working employees and always supported and backed them. He advised them not to sit idle as he (MKR) himself had never wasted his time. He would, instead, spend hours and hours in office and would come up with innovative ideas that made Jang Group a very successful and modern organisation. I must say that people like Mir Saheb are a great gift to Pakistan as he set up a great empire of journalism in Pakistan.

Moreover, making his debut as a modest film reporter in Delhi, Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman was destined to receive universal acclaim as the founder of a vast publishing and broadcasting empire. He was a talent hunter who launched the career of many luminaries in Pakistan. Such pioneering spirits and inspiring personalities are, indeed, the pride of any nation.

In order to pay tribute to Mir Saheb, I have written an Urdu poem about the experiences I had while working with MKR. In the poem, I have concluded that all the publications of Jang Group were the results of the great vision and efforts of Mir Saheb. The poem is as follows:
“Haan ye fifties ka qissa hai, naheen hai kal ka-mujh se bhi hans k mile Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman

Kaam bas kaam faqat kaam kaha Quaid ne...
Kaam bas karte rahe Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
Jang, Akbar-e-Jahan, Mag, Awam and News
Kehkashaan le ke chale Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman.”.

Muhammad Ahmad Shah
Writer, playwright, critic, scholar and Secretary,
Arts Council of Pakistan (Karachi)

In 1981, I, along with other students of the University of Karachi, arranged a seminar on journalism and it was sponsored by MKR Saheb at a local hotel. Not only he funded the event but he himself attended the seminar as the chief guest. During the event, Mir Saheb announced to give away gold medals to all the position holders of the Department of Mass Communication. Besides, he announced jobs for the qualified students who had graduated from the department. This showed his zeal and interest for the advancement of journalists and journalism in Pakistan. Being the founder  of Daily Jang, everyone knew that Mir Saheb started the paper from Delhi In 1940, when he was still a student. Despite that, he left no stone unturned in successfully establishing and running his paper.

He started from a scratch and touched the heights of success. The actual quality of his paper was to gather news from every corner of Pakistan and then objectively report it. The most distinguishing goal of the paper was to reach every Pakistani under all circumstances, so that no one remained ignored. Despite technological hurdles, Jang achieved its target of gathering news in an accurate and timely fashion just because of the hard work and dedication of MKR. Later, the same vision was followed by his son, Mir Shakil-ur Raham in Jang, The News, Geo TV and others.

Naseem Anjum
Novelist, short-story writer, columnist, critic and educationist

I had the honour of transcribing and writing speeches and interviews delivered by Mir Saheb. When Mir Saheb was alive, Agha Masood Hussain, who was very close to Mir Saheb, gave me a bunch of tape records that stored Mir Saheb’s speeches and interviews and requested me to transcribe the records verbatim. I performed the task with zeal and commitment and when Agha Masood Hussain took the transcript to Mir Saheb, he appreciated my efforts. Agha Masood Hussian told me that Mir Saheb acknowledged my work by saying that Naseem Anjum has done some real hard work and has completed this project very nicely. Although I was paid very reasonably for the said task, I was glad to receive the honour of rendering my services to him. Let me confess that the views of Mir Saheb on different issues greatly inspired me. I still remember his stance on palmistry as some interviewer asked him if he ever went to a palmist and in reply he denied saying that he believed in Almighty Allah alone and didn’t believe in palmistry.


Prof Ejaz Farooqi
President, Arts Council of Pakistan (Karachi)

I first met Mir Saheb at the wedding party of my friend, Zafar Iqbal, who was a sports journalist at that time. The fact that inspired and impressed me about Mir Saheb the most was his kind behaviour towards all the journalists affiliated with his organisation. I also got the opportunity to meet Mir Saheb on various occasions and found him to be a great person, who worked hard day and night like a common man and finally established an empire called ‘the Jang Group’.


The pioneer of Urdu journalism in Pakistan
By Muhammad Arshad Imam

Another year has passed since the day our beloved Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, the founder of the Jang Group, left this mortal world for his heavenly abode. Throughout his career, Mir Saheb  tried to teach his juniors many good things to make them capable of facing the challenges of time. Although, Mir Saheb’s teachings were remarkable, some people took his advice very seriously while others did not. People who paid attention to what Mir Saheb said and followed the guidelines given by him have surely succeeded in facing the challenges of work and life with ease. As an Urdu couplet so profoundly states that, “hard winds are not to be afraid of. They only blow to help us fly higher and higher.” While those who didn’t pay heed to his advice had to suffer because they could develop no vision, courage or commitment towards their life and work.

Generally speaking, there is nothing easy in life. In order to achieve something, one has to undergo various hardships and struggles. No pains, no gains. However, it should always be kept in mind that there are people who take life and the demands thereof, quite casually. If it is work they take it very casually. If there is a target to be achieved within a given time period, they give it little importance and, hence, they normally wake up to the situation too late and are unable to do anything. Consequently, such people normally fail to perform well and are left behind repenting and regretting.  They tend to forget that with hard work and dedication, everyone can succeed in life as God made us all worthy of doing one thing or the other. Everyone is given equally good minds and souls. However, successful people like Mir Saheb always remained heedful toward the challenges of life. The word challenges may not be misunderstood here as life in itself is a challenge. If a person carries out his daily work in a disciplined manner and ascertains that every task is performed with maximum efficiency, they can perform their duties in a better way. This attitude also enables a person to utilise their potentials in a positive manner.
Therefore, it is important for everyone to remember that the ladder to success has various degrees, or rungs. With sheer hard work and dedication, anyone can climb up this ladder of success. However, one must also not forget that taking shortcuts to success is not always possible. Going up step by step may seem to be slow but the progress has to be steady and continuous. Such was the zeal found in Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman as well, who devoted his entire life to his chosen vocation -journalism.

Although, I have not been an eye witness to the earlier stages of Mir Saheb’s life, I have interacted with people who have had this opportunity. These people stand witness to the fact that from the very outset of his journalistic career, Mir Saheb worked inordinately hard  and put the best of his efforts, both mental and physical, to meet the demands of his work. Later on, when I had a chance to work with him, I saw him engrossed in his work all the time. One would never see him sitting idle. If his subordinates were found working, he was also found working. We all know that the work of an editor-in-chief of a successful newspaper is different from the work of his other colleagues in many ways. Owing to his designation, he had many responsibilities to shoulder. For instance, he had to plan, guide, travel, hold meetings, meet his guests, and look over his newspaper’s performance as well as the business aspect and so on. Even with such a hectic schedule, one would always find Mir Saheb to be as fresh and energetic as anybody else. During the last days of his life, when he was not so well and his health was deteriorating with growing age, he never gave up and continued to employ his level best efforts towards his work. He came to office as usual and performed all the duties that he had been performing for the last so many decades. Not only this, but he remained accessible to his staffers whenever they required assistance.  Due to his insatiable zeal for his work, there was no concept of absenteeism for Mir Saheb. One would find him sitting in his office for hours and hours. Even after 11 pm, which was his usual time to leave for home, he kept in contact with the night desk and the people at the printing press to share their problems and update him about the status of the work.

It is a common knowledge that he went to bed only after looking at the freshly printed copy of Jang, which clearly shows that his commitment towards his profession. Certainly, people like Mir Saheb are great not because they enjoy special privileges but also because they have given their cent percent to their professional lives. This is an undeniable fact that despite being the owner of the biggest media house in Pakistan, Mir Saheb worked more than many people around him. To this end, it would be very apt to quote the following verses for Mir Saheb:

“Heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night”

Without a shadow of doubt, hard work always remains a constant requisite for brilliance and a basic characteristic of a successful personality, but there are some other traits too which must be there in a person. These include standard qualifications like, uprightness, steadfastness, diligence, discipline, farsightedness and perseverance.  I say with utmost confidence that owing to my close and very frequent contact with Mir Saheb, I saw all the mentioned qualities of character in him. I don’t remember a situation when he acted in a baffled, haphazard or panic-stricken manner. Even in the most crucial situations, Mir Saheb remained as composed as possible. Moreover, he had an outstanding quality of judging people’s potentials, therefore, he seldom made mistakes in recognising them. For a man at the top it is one of the basic requirements that enables him to continue his journey of success with enhanced speed and confidence.

A quick glance at Mir Saheb’s life gives us the proof of these words. As a matter of fact, Mir Saheb, with all his astonishing successes and wonderful achievements, was a really simple man. This very fact is difficult for some people to digest who have been made to believe that simplicity and success can never go hand in hand. However, this notion is far from the truth as such people, though very small in number, have always existed in history and will continue to do so in future. The best example in this regard is of the Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who believed in leading a simple, straightforward and surprisingly unadulterated life. Such was the approach of Mir Saheb too. For me, this is where the secret of his great success lies and that is why I salute him as a great Pakistani, a great journalist, and a great man.

Awards received by Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
Novelist, short-story writer, columnist, critic and educationist

1978   ‑-       Gold Mercury International Award,Mexico
1983   -        Merchant Navy Officer Award
1985   -        Writers Forum Award
1985   -        Iqra Award
1985   -        Baladi Award, UAE
1987   -        Nishan-e-Behbood
1987   -        Pakistan Movement Award
1987   -        Quaid-i-Azam National Award
1988   -        Honourary Degree of PhD, Sri Lanka
1989   -        Performance Award
1989   -        ‑Quli Qutub Shah Aalami Award (given at International Urdu Conference), New Dehil
1990   -        Art International Award (Best Editor-in- Chief Award), Dubai


In the loving memory of Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman
By Khalidul Aziz

Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, the owner of Jang Group, was a dear friend of my late father Syed Abdul Hafiz, the Managing Director and the Chief Editor of United Press of Pakistan (UPP).

Owing to our close family terms, I had various interactions with Mir Saheb and I remember him as a very kind, friendly and affectionate person.

From mid 50s to early 60s, I was a student of BVS Parsi High School that was close to my father’s office. I used to walk from school to dad’s office and then go back home with my elder brother, late Masood bhai. Those were very good and peaceful days in Karachi. We often used to see Mir Saheb coming to dad’s office on a bicycle which he used to park near the staircase and instruct the chowkidar of the building to keep a vigil at that.

My father had great liking for Mir Saheb and also for Umar Farooqi Saheb who was the Editor of Daily Anjam. Whenever Mir Saheb came to see dad, they exchanged views on important national issues and any newsworthy incident of the day. There was a coffee house -the Central Coffee House - located opposite to the Victoria Chambers where dad’s UPP office was situated. Whenever Mir Saheb or Farooqui Saheb came, dad used to order tea or cold drink with biscuits. They all liked and enjoyed the tea and biscuits of this coffee house.  As I used to sit with dad in his room, I was a beneficiary and relished the freshly-baked hot biscuits with tea.

One day, the son of the building’s chowkidar quietly took Mir Saheb’s bicycle for a ride while the chowkidar had gone for prayers. Meanwhile, Mir Saheb descended from dad’s office through the staircase and found out that his bicycle and the chowkidar, both were missing. He got worried and went back to dad to inform him about the missing bicycle. Upon hearing this, my dad got furious and came down calling for the chowkidar who had just returned from prayers. Seeing dad so angry, the chowkidar started looking for the bicycle and suddenly, his son came back. The chowkidar beat him, snatched the bicycle and handed it over to Mir Saheb. Dad, relieved after taking hold of the bicycle, gave Re 1.00 as a reward to the chowkidar who was delighted. After all, it was his (dad’s) favourite guest’s bicycle, who he respected a lot and was quite embarrassed after finding his bicycle missing. Mir Saheb then cycled off to Jang office. During the whole episode, Mir Saheb remained calm and retained his composure. 

I also remember another important anecdote that dad had narrated to my mom, late Begum Khurshid Hafiz Saheba, on his return from Islamabad/ Pindi. It was President Ayub Khan’s era. Once, Gen Ayub called all the newspapers’ editors from all over Pakistan for a briefing session on important national and international issues.

Freedom of press means to be able to write freely about the policies and wrongdoings of the government without having to compromise on principles.

The briefing was to be followed by lunch. After the briefing which was held at the President’s house, question-answer session started. Dad, Mir Saheb and Farooqui Saheb were sitting next to each other. After a while, Mir Saheb stood up and asked a critical question about Pakistan’s foreign policy which annoyed President Ayub Saheb for reasons unknown and he suddenly called the briefing off by saying: “Mir Saheb, I know why you are asking this question.” Mir Saheb got very upset with all this. My dad and Farooqi Saheb consoled him and insisted Brigadier Nawazish Ali, the President’s secretary, to allow them to see Ayub Khan in person. Both were ushered in and they explained to the President that Mir Saheb had no wrong intention and requested the President to meet him on a one-on-one basis so that things could be clarified. The President acceded to dad’s and Farooqui Saheb’s request and Mir Saheb was ushered in, while dad and Farooqi Saheb waited outside. Later, when Mir Saheb came out of the President’s room, he was all smiles which showed that the matter had been resolved. After that, the trio joined others for lunch.

Mir Saheb was a kind-hearted man and a lot of people speak about his kind behaviour. I remember how he always treated me and my elder brother with deep affection. When we used to wait in dad’s office for the driver to take us home and Mir Saheb would come to see dad, he used to ask: “bete aap log kaise ho, parhai kaisi ja rahi hai, aap dono Jang parhte ho? (How are you sons? How are your studies coming along? Do you read Jang?), etc.

When our father died in 1982, my elder brothers, Qutubuddin Aziz and Mehmood-ul-Aziz, regularly organised memorial meetings for our late father Syed Abdul Hafiz, the founder of UPP. Mir Saheb always attended the meetings and spoke highly about his friendship and understanding with dad.

Mir Saheb, his sons Mir Javed-ur-Rahman and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and his son-in-law, Ashraf Qazi Saheb, who lived in England, worked relentlessly to make Jang Group, later Geo, an icon of print and electronic media.

Begum Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman was also a close friend of my mom. Like Mir Saheb, his wife is also a kind and affectionate person.
Mir Saheb also had excellent rhetoric and eloquence. I remember when Zafar Iqbal, the President of Defence Residents Society (DRS), founded this NGO over two decades ago, he requested Mir Saheb to be the Chief Guest at the launching of DRS in April, 1990.  Mir Saheb, a really polite, caring and kind person, accepted Zafar Iqbal’s invitation. The attendees were mesmerised by the excellent speech delivered by Mir Saheb, wherein he lauded Zafar Iqbal’s initiative. At that time, I was the elected Joint Secretary and also hosted the programme. Presently, I am serving as Vice President of Defence Residents Society.

Considering the various qualities that Mir Saheb had, he will always remain in the hearts of people who were fortunate enough to be associated with him. May Allah bless him with a special place in heaven and bless his whole family with happiness, mutual respect and affection, ameen.

—The writer is the CEO of United Global Business Corp and the Vice President of Defence Residents Society. He is the youngest son of Late Syed Abdul Hafeez Saheb, Founder of UPP.

Kindness and humility — the defining traits of MKR
By Muhammad Suleman

Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of the landmark 1995 best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, describes emotional intelligence, as a set of human skills hypothesised to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve something in one’s life. It guides as to how you handle your own feelings and how well you empathise and get along with other people. He considers emotional intelligence a sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.

Countless theories and counter theories have been presented since Goleman presented this idea. However, while having worked with Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman for so many years and knowing him very closely, I can clearly call him the pioneer of Goleman’s philosophy of Emotional Intelligence.

With a very humble and down-to-earth personality, he never boasted his personal traits even to his subordinates, let alone his contemporaries. Once, I wrote a message on his instructions, in which I described some of his personal features and sent it to him for review. But soon his response came on a small chit (he always used small chits taken from empty part of any document for sending messages to his staff) reading:

Always write the truth even if it is against me. Even if someone files a case against me for writing the truth, I’m willing to face it.

“Suleman Saheb, yeh kuch achha naheen laga, iss main ghuroor ka pehlu tau naheen hay? Meri zaati salahiyatain kia theen? khuch bhi naheen... zeero!—Khalil” (Suleman Saheb, it doesn’t sound right. Isn’t there an element of arrogance in it? What were my personal qualities? ...Zero!)

This humble denial to his extraordinary abilities gave him the power to rule the hearts of people around him. 

Whenever any of his editors would do something wrong, he would express his anger but with the purpose to let them learn correct journalism. However, by the time the editor would leave his office, he would neutralise the stressful situation by discussing something else so as not to make the other person feel embarrassed. Mir Saheb was a religious and God-fearing man. He never wanted anyone to leave his office with a heavy heart. His anger used to fizzle out within a few moments after which he would always make up for it by chatting with that person on lighter notes. He would continue it till the impact of his annoyance would die down. This philosophy to understand the feelings of a person while controlling one’s own emotions was practised by Mir Saheb long before Goleman’s idea gained international acclaim.
Mir Saheb never interacted with people on the basis of their social or financial value. Whenever he visited any government office, he would shake hands with every person—from the security guard to the peon sitting outside the office of a high official—before meeting the main personality and would inquire about the well-being of their families with his routine sentence: “Bhai mere laiq koi khidmat ho tu batana” (please, let me know if I could be of any help to you). But these were not mere words, because whenever someone approached him, he would go extra miles to solve their problems. In this way, he had developed a whole social circle comprising people from cross section of society. It was due to this charisma of his personality that after his death, many people who signed the memoir book kept at the office, described Mir Saheb as if he had personal relationship with the endorser. Probably, this is also one of the reasons why people developed an unflinching loyalty with Jang group.

Mir Saheb used to say that Jang belongs to its readers. Whenever anyone lodged any complaint against Jang, he never discouraged them. Instead, he would respond to their complaints immediately. He made it upon himself to personally answer the letters written by his readers with an ending note: “I hope you will keep writing to us and point out our mistakes”. Even if he came across a reader in any social gathering, he would give a patient hearing to their complaints and would satisfy the complainant.

Mir Saheb was a great motivational force behind the loyalty of his staff. He stood by them through thick and thin. He hardly missed any funeral or wedding of his staff. And these were never casual visits which an owner pays to his employee’s home. On funerals, he used to recite one Para (section) of the Holy Quran while on weddings he would share their happy moments, joyously.

While visiting any ailing staff member in a hospital, he would always speak to his doctor, discuss his case and would leave with instruction: “Dr Saheb, he is a very important member of our staff, please treat him with complete care and attention.” Similarly, if any one was undergoing surgery, he used to visit the hospital at the time of operation. During this period, people could see the concern he had for that staff member on his grim face.

—The writer is Group Director, Editorial Management, Jang Group