Daily Urdu ‘Aaj Kal' newspaper launched -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Daily Urdu ‘Aaj Kal’ newspaper launched

KARACHI: Speakers at the launch of a new Urdu daily by the name of ‘Aaj Kal’, belonging to the ‘Daily Times’ group, stressed the need for a modern, progressive, liberal paper with a forward-looking and optimistic outlook in these times of stress, strain, violence and religious extremism.

Editor-in-Chief Najam Sethi recalled how when ‘Daily Times’ was launched in 2002 some people had questioned whether another English newspaper was needed. But despite the presence of other newspapers, there was a need for a liberal one. And thus, ‘Aaj Kal’ would fill the gap of a liberal Urdu newspaper, he said.

Sethi referred to the earlier Lahore launch where former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been invited as chief guest. A promise was exacted from Sharif that if he won the elections he would maintain the freedom of the press and abolish all ordinances against the media, said Sethi.

‘Daily Times’ and ‘Aaj Kal’ publisher Salmaan Taseer said during his speech that the people of Karachi had been waiting for a liberal Urdu newspaper for a long time. The two major political parties in the city, the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, would back ‘Aaj Kal’, he said, as they were both against religious extremism. And while political parties sitting on the Opposition benches raised their voices for human rights and the freedom of the press, they would still be supportive if they came to power.

In her speech, Aurat Foundation chairperson Anis Haroon also said that a liberal Urdu newspaper had been needed for a long time. She also spoke at length about the struggle undertaken by lawyers and journalists to restore democracy in the country.

For his part, Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim stressed that the voice of the people had to be heard and despite all that has been happening, he believed, that good days were around the corner. He also held at length on the sanctity of the Constitution, the voice of the people and how laws should not be changed at the whim of one person’s desires.

‘Aaj Kal’ Editor Khalid Chaudhry said that the newspaper stood by liberalism, provincial autonomy, and against religious extremism.

Governor Ishratul Ebad, the chief guest, appreciated the new newspaper following the success of ‘Daily Times’. “The trend and thought that goes into the English newspaper will be maintained in the new [Urdu] paper and it will create awareness on [religious] extremism,” he said, adding that it would help alter some of the misperceptions about Pakistan. Even though there are almost 50 television channels, only newspapers can fill the need for opinion, he concluded.

In his own inimitable style, Anwar Maqsood quipped that perhaps the newspaper should have been launched on Tuesday, Feb 19, as a new leaf would be turned on Feb 18. Eliciting laughter from the audience, he punned on the name of the newspaper while referring to popular contemporary Bollywood songs that all contain the words ‘Aaj’ and ‘Kal’.
Source: Daily Times
Date:2/15/2008