Remember Anil Datta, a gem of a reporter and guru of a sub-editor with the exemplary national spirit, foregoing job offers from the foreign greener pastures all for his homeland Pakistan, sacrificed till death forty years of his life, employed but payless for months, borrowing money for food and shelter!?
IMAGINE what it takes to be responsible for the news or editorial side, or for that matter, marketing or advertising side of a newspaper! See time-squeezing and tension-reflecting figure of an overtaxed News In-charge or a cowed marketing executive facing scary proprietor with ads backfiring. It needs to deviate from the straight and narrow and discover some simple, subdued, and less-heard yet revealing and pioneering media figures of Pakistan.
Identifying our quiet journalists’ vocal role it is speaking volumes of their being able, humble noble and gentle both in person and in professional expertise. They represent all forms and manifestations of print media, including news subbing, editing and reporting, editorial and feature writing, layout, and production. What reflects here is selflessness, rising over and above self, overshadowing ego or vanity, and being models of class and caliber at work.
Discovering from the oblivion at the busy Bank Road Rawalpindi and climbing stairs of an old building was the resident office of Pakistan’s prized newspaper “Nawa-i-Waqt” with Tariq Warsi, a dervish-like maestro of news In charge indeed! Hailing from Lahore and living in Rawalpindi, he would visit his dear family once a fortnight for some hours and the rest devoted almost round- the-clock, most silently, cheerfully and skillfully, to Nawai-Waqt’s pioneering prominence in Pakistan, especially in the Punjab.
At 9 Hameed Chambers, Aabpara, Islamabad there was an aura of pledge with “The Muslim” flourishing as the brainchild of the scholarly and visionary Agha Murtaza Pooya amid such Editors as Maliha Lodhi, Mushahid Husain and others. The man behind “The Muslim” news credibility was Khalid Akhtar, News Editor, so simple and silent, so calm and composed, so smiling and shining, so helping and hospitable and a thorough genius on the news desk. The level of this newspaper’s news credibility can be gauged from the fact that that it was preferred by diplomatic community, NGOs, business circles, private and public sectors and the public at large.
Sitting quietly but streamlining swiftly loads of news amid public, government, business, political and in-house pressures at “Pakistan Observer”, G-8 Markaz Ali Akbar House, Islamabad until a decade back was an all-positively accommodating Mufti Saheb, a model of emotional maturity, seriousness of purpose and penetrative thinking as regards management of a vibrant news desk. Identifying, subbing and publishing local, national and international news for a well-acclaimed newspaper with such a renowned Editor as Zahid Malik and his principled and patriotic editorial policy was a positive challenge for Mufti who silently yet instrumentally worked his heart out as an example in piety and professionalism.
Contrary to a standard News In-charge feeling about irritating PROs as Public Repellant Officers was Hasan Mausanna welcoming them for human values and yet managing meticulously the news content as the Resident Editor of “The Nation”, Islamabad rocketing in popularity and being one of the most creditable English dailies within a few years with the Nizamis watching with satisfaction from Lahore and such media celebrities of today as Syed Fahad Husain and Nusrat Javed sub-consciously, if not consciously considering Mausanna Saheb as a source of inspiration.
Able, noble, humble and gentle, Syed Manzar ul Hasan, though not prominent like seasoned editors of popular newspapers, was Editor of a less heard newspaper, “The Leader”, in Karachi. A training ground for young media aspirants, especially students, and a launchpad for corporate writers and editors of professional publications like Nusrat Nasrullah producing the “Progress” magazine from PPL and Zia ul Islam Zuberi, managing PR with specialized publications from Siemens Pakistan, both contributing with vigor and vitality and, indeed, the illustrious Late Sultan Ahmad with Manzar Saheb, quietly sending a value-adding editorial for his love and loyalty to The Leader, despite his assignments for DAWN.
And among DAWN, Late Sabihuddin Ghausi, an all- humane Chief Reporter of the high-impact business pages and President of the powerful Karachi Press Club, was selflessly so very kind and supporting to young writers and to young PROs for coverage.
DAWN’s Late Maisoon Hussain, few people would know was so devoted a less-priveleged reporter that she covered her heart out for the poor souls. Unearth from JANG too like DAWN, Late Nizam Siddiqi, a model of an able, noble, humble gentle and so very caring, sharing, helping and sacrificing less- heard journalist with a vocal role. #