The National Press has grown rapidly since the establishment of Pakistan. There has been fast increase in the number of newspapers and periodicals. The Press, moreover, has played an important role in the creation, development and consolidation of Pakistan.
NEWSPAPERS AND JOURNALS
There are 1,587 newspapers and journals in the country including 133 dailies, 346 weeklies, three bi-weeklies, 114 fortnight lies, 597
monthlies, eight bi-monthlies, 174 quarterlies, 79 half-yearlies and 133 annual publications.
The breakdown, according to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Press Information Department) of the Government of Pakistan upto July, 1988 is as follows;
(a) Dailies: Punjab: English 3, Urdu 56; Sindh: English 7, Urdu 23, Sindhi 9, Gujrati 3; North West Frontier Province: English 3, Urdu 16; Balochistan: English I, Urdu 6; Islamabad Federal Capital Territory: English 4 and Azad Kaslunir: Urdu 1.
b) Weeklies: Punjab: 137; English 3, Urdu 133, Punjabi 1; Sindh: 110; English 26, Urdu 41, Sindhi 49, Gujrati 1; NVv’FP:English 1, Urdu 25, Pustho 1; Balcchistan: English 1, Urdu 17, Balochi 1, Brahvi 1, Pushto 2; Azad Kashmir: Urdu 37; Islamabad: English 2, Urdu 5.
(c) Bi-weeklies: Punjab: Urdu 2; Sindh:
(d) Fortnightlies: Punjab: English 6, Urdu 45; Sindh English 26, Urdu 25, Sindhi 2, Gujrati 2; NWFP: Urdu 2, Balochistan: Urdu 5.
(e) Monthlies: Punjab: 236, English 23, Urdu 210,Punjabi 1, Saraiki 1. Gujrati 3; Arabic 1; Sindh: 303, English 110, Urdu 175, Sindhi ’15, Gujrati 3; NWFP: 17, English 3, Urdu 10, Pushto 4; Balochistan: 2, Balochi 2; Islamabad: 33, English 16, Urdu 15, Persian 1, Dari (Afghan-Persian) 1; Azad Kashmir: 4 in Urdu. (0 Bi-monthlies: Sindh: 3 in English; Islamabad 5, English 4, Urdu 1.
(g) Quarterlies: Punjab: 78, English 39, Urdu 37, Punjabi 1, Saraiki 1; Sindh: 62, English 50, Urdu •11, Sindhi 1, Islamabad: 33, English 22, Urdu 10, Arabic 1; Azad Kashmir: 1 in Urdu.
(h) Half-yearlies: Punjab: English 8, Urdu 58, Sindh: 1, English 12, Islamabad: 12, English 10, Urdu 2.
(i) Annuals: Punjab: 3 in English, Urdu 120; Sindh: 3 in English; Balochistan: 3 in Urdu; Islamabad: 4,
English 2, Urdu 2.
. Behind the rapid growth of the Press in Pakistan lies a saga of suffering. trial and struggle. No doubt. the foundations of the Press were laid in undivided India in the early years of the British imperial connection and the first newspaper published in the subcontinent was appropriately in the English language. The share of Muslim journals and journalists in the early Press was not small.
The first Urdu journal, Urdu Akhbar, made its appearance as early as 1836. Since then, there had been a steady expansion up to 1857, when we find Muslim journalists operating a not inconsiderable number of journals from Delhi, Calcutta, Mad-as, Lucknow, Lahore and Karachi. It is only after 1857 that we suddenly come up against a stark factor the almost complete elimination of Muslim journalists and journals from the Indian scene.
The transformation is so sudden and violent that no serious student of British-Indian affairs can fail to be struck by it.
Starting with a bright promise, the Muslim Press expands and wields considerable influence in the political, social and intellectual life of the community. Then, suddenly and violently, its growth is arrested until it withers and almost dies. It remains in a moribund condition throughout the British connection, and is only brought back to life first with the launching of the Muslim National Movement and, later, with the birth of the independent Islamic Sate of Pakistan.
Muslim journalists and journals continued, for a long time after 1857, to bear the brunt of the ire of the new rulers. Many ‘flourishing Muslim newspapers were closed down and the birth of new ones was rendered nearly impossible by the draconian Act No. XV of 1857 “to regulate the establishment offprint presses and to restrain in certain cases the circulation of printed books and papers”.
Later, when the legislation was liberalized, the Muslims were in no position financially, to start newspapers.
Although, the period between 1857 (War of Independence) and 1937 (when the Government of India Act, 1935, embodying a large measure of self-government for the Indians was enforced), saw a groundswell of journalistic activity in India, yet none of the great newspapers was owned or edited by Muslims.
There were, of course, a few Muslim journals edited by some of the veterans of the freedom movement that blazed a new trail in the history alike of journalism and politics of British-India. These included The Comrade (Calcutta) of Maulana Mohammad Ali, the Al-Hilal (Calcutta) of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and the Zamindar (Lahore) of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan.
When the Muslims of the subcontinent organised themselves and rallied round the political platform of the All- India Muslim League, led by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the mid-thirties, increased and urgent attention was focused on the development of a strong Muslim Press to support the Muslim national cause.
This led to the establishment of a number of Muslim-owned newspapers and the first news agency of the Muslims, the Orient Press of India, in late thirties.
These were the Azad, Bengali language daily (Calcutta, 1936), the Star of India, English language evening newspaper (Calcutta, 1936), the Morning News, first Muslim morning daily in English (Calcutta, 1942), Dawn, English language weekly (Delhi, 1942), later turned into a daily, the Pakistan Times, English language daily· (Lahore 1946), and the Urdu language Nauia-i- Waqt (Lahore, a fortnightly until 1939; a daily from 1944).
Handicapped financially, ill-equipped mechanically, what these early pioneers lacked in resources, they more than made up in zeal and fervour for the cause of Pakistan.
On the Eve of Independence
On the eve of Independence, however, there was no major Muslim-owned newspaper in the area constituting the new state of Pakistan except the Pakistan Times, the Nauia-i- Waqt, the Zamindar and the Civil and Military Gazette, all in Lahore.
The Hindu newspapers decided to migrate to India. There was also a reverse migration of some Muslim journals from India to Pakistan.
Among them was Dawn, which started publication as a daily from Karachi, then the Federal Capital, on the day Pakistan emerged as a sovereign State, August 14, 1947.
The Urdu dailies Jang and Anjam were also shifted from Delhi to Karachi. The Morning News, after its closure at Calcutta, emerged from Dhaka (in former East Pakistan) first as a weekly (1948) and then as a daily (1949). It began simultaneous publication from Dhaka and Karachi in 1953.
Started in the early years of Pakistan, these newspapers shared the heart breaks and the difficulties the new state itself was encountering. Modern printing presses, for instance, did not exist. Few newspapers could afford their own printing plants.
Acute shortage of such essential materials and equipment as printing ink, newsprint, block-making plants, linotype machines and their spares dogged every stage of newspaper production.
The Government of Pakistan, still in its swaddling clothes, and called upon, all at once, to grapple with the formidable problems of the new state, could not make available adequate resources to equip the press.
It is a tribute to the dedication and the ingenuity of the pioneers of the Pakistan Press that these obstacles, instead of overwhelming them, spurred them to greater efforts. There were, of course, casualties by the wayside. The English daily Sindh Observer closed down in 1952, as did the Civil and Military Gazette-its Karachi edition in 1953, and Lahore edition (where Rudyard Kipling once worked as a reporter) in 1963.
The English daily, The Times of Karachi, incorporating the evening er Evening Times, folded up after eight years of struggle. So did the Pakistan Standard, the official English daily of the Pakistan Muslim League, within a couple of years of its birth in 1955.
The Urdu daily Arv”am was incorporated with the ‘Mashriq’in 1966.
Despite the setbacks, progress has been steady. The newspapers today are better produced, show greater professional competence and have wider range and depth in their coverage of national and international affairs.
Among the 133 daily newspapers in the country, the major national papers are: Jang, Nauia-i- Waqt, Mashriq, Masauiat, Jasorat, Hurriyat, Pakistan in Urdu: Dawn, The Pakistan Times, The Muslim, Morning News, The Nation, The Frontier Post, The News in English.