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Najam Sethi

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Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi

Lahore, Pakistan


Najam Sethi Najam Sethi to appeal as PCB lurches into fresh crisis

Clare College, Cambridge, Government College University, University of Cambridge

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20 May 1948 (age 73), Kasur, Pakistan

Kargil war in the eyes of an eminent pakistani journalist mr najam sethi

Najam Aziz Sethi (Urdu/Punjabi: نجم سیٹھی; born c. 1948) is a Pakistani journalist and a left-leaning political commentator who serves as the editor-in-chief of The Friday Times, hosts the primetime current affairs show Aapas ki Baat on Geo News and serves as Chairman of Pakistan Super League. Though he is an Ahmadi Muslim but he also served as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab during the 2013 election.


Born in Lahore, Sethi studied economics at the Government College, and later moved to Clare College at the Cambridge University where he received his master's degree in economics and progressed as a PhD student; however, he left to join a socialist movement working for the rights of Baluchistan, leading to his arrest in 1975 before being discharged in 1978. He consequently left politics and established Vanguard Books, a progressive book publishing company.

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In 1989, Sethi along with his wife Jugnu Mohsin launched an independent English weekly, The Friday Times. He was arrested by the second Nawaz Sharif government in 1999 on trumped-up charges of treason before being released by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In 2002, he founded the Daily Times of Pakistan and became its editor until leaving in October 2009. He also served as the Pakistan correspondent of The Economist from 1990 to 2008.

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Sethi won the 1999 International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and the 2009 World Association of Newspapers' Golden Pen of Freedom Award. On 26 March 2013, his name was approved for the interim position of the chief minister of Punjab as a result of consensus between members of the selection committee comprising individuals from both the governing and the opposing political parties. He took the oath on 27 March 2013, and left the office after the May 2013 elections on 6 June 2013.

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Najam Sethi on Indian Standard Time


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After the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, the populist PPP had formed a new elected government at the centre, whereas the leftist NAP was heading the provincial government in Balochistan. In 1973, the PPP regime accused NAP of fostering a separatist movement in Balochistan and dismissed it. In reaction, hordes of Baloch tribesmen picked up arms and triggered a full-fledged guerrilla war with the Pakistan Army.

Najam Sethi Pakistan govt provided protective custody to Osama Najam Sethi

About five members of the London Club decided to quit their studies in London, travel back to Pakistan and join the insurgency on the Baloch nationalists' side. They were all between the ages of 21 and 25, came from well-off families and, what's more, none of them was Baloch. In fact they were all from Punjab. They included Najam Sethi, Ahmed Rashid and Asad Rehman and Dalip Dass. When the PPP regime was toppled in a reactionary military coup in 1977, Dalip Dass and Najam Sethi were arrested.

Asad Rehman, Ahmed Rashid and Dalip Dass were the three people who escaped into the mountains to join the Baloch tribesmen, whereas Najam Sethi and Rashid Rehman stationed themselves in Karachi to raise funds and awareness about the Baloch cause.

According to Sethi, he first conceived of the idea for an independent Pakistani newspaper out of frustration: while briefly imprisoned in 1984 on trumped-up copyright charges, no newspapers had protested his arrest. The following year, he and Mohsin applied for a publishing license under Mohsin's name, since Sethi was "too notorious an offender" to be approved. Called into Nawaz Sharif's office to discuss the application, Mohsin told him that she intended to publish "a social chit chat thing, you know, with lots of pictures of parties and weddings". It was finally approved in 1987, but Mohsin requested a one-year delay to avoid the first issue coming out during the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. The paper's first issue appeared in May 1989.

1999 arrest

In early 1999, Sethi gave an interview to a team for the British Broadcasting Corporation television show Correspondent, which was planning to report on corruption in the Nawaz Sharif government. At the beginning of May, he warned by contacts that his cooperation with the team was being interpreted by the Nawaz Sharif government as an attempt to destabilize it, and that officials were planning Sethi's arrest. On 8 May, he was taken from his home by personnel of Punjab Police. According to Sethi's wife Mohsin, at least eight armed officers broke into the house, assaulting the family's security guards; when asked to produce a warrant, one of them threatened simply to shoot Sethi on the spot. Mohsin was tied up and left locked in another room.

Sethi was then held for almost a month without charge. He was kept incommunicado at a detention center in Lahore. Amnesty International stated its belief that his arrest was connected with his investigations into government corruption, and designated him a prisoner of conscience. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists also sent a protest letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, noting the organization's dismay "that the state continues its persecution of independent journalists", and World Bank president James Wolfensohn called Sharif to urge Sethi's release.

On 1 June, authorities charged Sethi with "Condemnation of the Creation of the State and Advocacy of Abolition of its Sovereignty" and "Promoting Enmity Between Different Groups" and transferred him to police custody. However, the following day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the government had provided insufficient evidence to justify Sethi's detention. He was released, and the charges against him were dropped.

My Feudal Lord

In June 1991, Mohsin and Sethi's publishing company, Vanguard Books, released Tehmina Durrani's My Feudal Lord, a "politically explosive" book about her marriage with leading politician Mustafa Khar. In the book, Durrani alleges that Khar mistreated and abused her. It was an "instant sensation" and later became the "hottest book in Pakistan's history". Durrani signed a contract vesting foreign rights with Mohsin and giving her 50% of foreign royalties.

On 19 May 1999, however—during Sethi's one-month incommunicado detention—Durrani called a press conference to denounce him as having stolen all of her earnings from the book, stating that his actions were "an even bigger case of hypocrisy than my experience with the feudal system". Durrani sued Sethi for mental torture, and he countersued for defamation. An earlier dispute over the foreign rights had been settled out of court in 1992. A review of the contracts by the UK newspaper The Independent described Sethi as acting in good faith and described him and Mohsin as "the injured party".

Later activity

In 2008, when Sethi's newspapers ran a series of editorials opposing religious fundamentalism, the Taliban threatened him with death, causing him to live under constant guard. Sethi also received death threats in July 2008 for publishing an editorial cartoon showing Umme Hassaan, principal of a girls' school, encouraging young women in burqas to "kidnap Chinese masseuses". The joke referred to Lal Masjid, the fundamentalist mosque at which her husband Abdul Aziz Ghazi was a cleric; the mosque had kidnapped six Chinese women that it accused of being prostitutes, leading to Ghazi's arrest.

Personal life

Sethi is married to fellow journalist Jugnu Mohsin, the publisher of The Friday Times. The couple have two children: author Ali Sethi and journalist and actress Mira Sethi.

Awards and recognition

In 1999, Sethi and Mohsin were both given the International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which recognizes journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment. Ten years later, he was awarded the 2009 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.

  • Hilal-i-Imtiaz Award in 2011 by the President of Pakistan
  • Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab

    Najam Sethi was appointed as the caretaker Chief Minister (CM) Punjab on 26 March 2013, for the 'General Elections 2013', which were scheduled to be held on 11 May 2013. His name was presented by PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) and the opposition, PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz) agreed on it. He then became the Chief Minister of Pakistan's province, Punjab. On 6 June 2013, he stepped down in favor of the newly elected Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif.

    Acting Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board

    Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif appointed him as the acting chairman Pakistan Cricket Board after the Islamabad High Court ordered the appointment of an interim chairman until a pending case on the serving chairman, Zaka Ashraf, was decided. Later, a two-member bench of Islamabad high court cleared Zaka Ashraf and ordered his restoration as Chairman PCB. Sethi then relinquished chairmanship.


    Najam Sethi Wikipedia