Where there's a will: 'Taken down by left and right, paper to be relaunched'

Published: November 24, 2014
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Almost half a century has passed and history is set to take its course as the three pioneers vowed to relaunch the paper. STOCK IMAGE

Almost half a century has passed and history is set to take its course as the three pioneers vowed to relaunch the paper. STOCK IMAGE

KARACHI: The Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) and the National Students Federation (NSF), the right and left wing student organisations of the time, joined hands to take down the Pakistan Students’ Observer, said former Senator Khawaja Qutubuddin on Friday. However, he added, it will be relaunched.

He was speaking at a event at Marriot Hotel, titled ’50 years of Youth Journalism in Pakistan: 1964 to 2014 – from Print Media to Digital Media’, organised by the Citizen’s Initiative on Media Issues (CIMI) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). He was one of the pioneers of the Pakistan Students’ Observer. Two other forerunners of the student publication, former information minister Javed Jabbar and business tycoon Tariq Saeed also spoke at the event.

The paper was launched in 1964. It was run by a few aspiring students and pursued an independent policy. However, three years later, it succumbed to political interference and financial constraints.

Almost half a century has passed and history is set to take its course as the three pioneers vowed to relaunch the paper.

Qutubuddin explained how the newspaper was printed from a small room of Ameen Art Press, owned by Ameen Tareen, which was located at II Chundrigar Road.

“There used to be only one ceiling fan,” he said. “The place was a makeshift nerve centre of youth journalism.”

While talking about the newspaper, Qutubuddin said that they were all fulltime students and did not have a hawker association for circulation. “We used to have a circulation director who used to deliver the paper to the shops in his car.”

Speaking about self-censorship, Qutubuddin described how Javed Jabbar had once written a story that they did not publish because it pertained to the mismanagement and corruption of Karachi University and its professors. “Somehow, the story got leaked and became the headline of several leading newspapers.”

According to Qutubuddin, the capital to run the paper came from their allowances. Moreover, getting first-hand information was not as easy as is today because television was not so popular and there was hardly a concept of social networks.

Javed Jabbar was hailed at the event for making very strong headlines for the newspaper. He, however, expressed regret over one of his headlines that read ‘Down with Bogus Leaders.’

“This was the headline of the issue of February 4, 1965, which I think should not have been so bold,” said Jabbar.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2014.

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