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Dawn was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1941 in Delhi, India, as a weekly newspaper. “The Dawn will mirror faithfully the views of Hindustan’s Muslims and the All Hindustan Muslim League in all its activities: economic, educational and social and more particularly political, throughout the country fearlessly and independently and while its policy will be, no doubt, mainly to advocate and champion the cause of the Muslims and the policy and programme of the All Hindustan Muslim League, it will not neglect the cause and welfare of the peoples of this sub-continent generally,“ was its original mission statement as articulated by Jinnah. Its first editor was Pothan Joseph, a Christian from Travancore (now the India state of Kerala) in British India.

In October 1944, Dawn became a daily but soon Joseph resigned to become the government's Principal Information Officer. His successor, Altaf Husain, gave the newspaper an openly Muslim nationalist editorial tone and made it as the champion of their struggle for an independent country. Dawn continued to be published from Delhi a few weeks after August 14, 1947 when Pakistan came into being. Later that year, it shifted its office to Karachi, the new state’s capital. The ownership of Dawn also changed hands around that time – from Jinnah to the family of Haji Sir Abdullah Haroon that purchased majority shares in it in 1946.

After Jinnah’s death, a brief controversy arose over the ownership of Dawn. Jinnah’s sister, Fatima Jinnah, the government of Pakistan as the successor to the founder of the country, his party, Muslim League and Dawn’s editor Altaf Hussain all contested the newspaper’s ownership by the Haroons at various stages. In 1951, things came to such a head that the Haroons discontinued its publication and started another English daily, Herald. Under public protest, though, the decision was reversed in a couple of days and Dawn resumed its publication as usual under the ownership of the Haroons.

Dawn has been largely a conservative newspaper throughout most of its history. Having started as a champion of Muslim rights in British India, it continued to take an Islamic stance even after the independence on national, regional as well as international issues. In mid-1960s, it briefly came under attack from a military government headed by General Ayub Khan for supporting Fatima Jinnah as a presidential candidate against him. Later, in the 1970s, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s civilian government imprisoned Dawn’s editor Alaf Gauhar who was earlier one of the closest aides to Ayub Khan and was also the originator and implementer of many anti-media and anti-democracy measures of his military regime. He became Dawn’s editor in 1969 when he was sacked from his government job.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Dawn continued to function as a conservative, pro-business, elitist newspaper – a stance that changed only in the mid-2000s.

Since 2005, Dawn has adopted a strong pro-democracy editorial policy, immediately earning the ire of Pakistan’s fourth military ruler General Pervez Musharraf who also did not like the newspaper’s coverage of ethnic separatism in Balochistan and violent Islamic radicalism in northwestern border areas. Over the last decade, Dawn has also emerged as a champion of civilian supremacy over the military, a subject that it most memorably highlighted in a 2016 news report on high level differences between the elected civilians and senior intelligence officials over the handling of Islamic terrorism. The whole episode is famously called as ‘Dawn Leaks’ and has led to inquiries against the newspaper’s editor and a staff reporter. It is mainly because of this report that Dawn has since been under tremendous pressure from the powers that be that want to curb its editorial independence and hurt its financial interests through blocked advertisements and undeclared bans on its distribution in different parts of the country.

Key facts

Audience Share


Ownership Type


Geographic Coverage


Content Type

Paid Content (PKR 25)

Data Publicly Available

ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.

2 ♥

Media Companies / Groups

Dawn Group


Ownership Structure

Daily Dawn is owned by Pakistan Herald Publications (private) Limited which in turn is owned by two other firms, Haroon Sons (Private) Limited and Pyramid Media (Private) Limited. The former owns 4.14% shares in Pakistan Herald Publications (private) Limited and the latter own 85.71% shares in it.
Most of the rest of the shares in Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited are owned by Amber Haroon Saigol (0.10%) and her daughters, Zeinan Rawjee (4.51%) and Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani (5.53%).

Haroon Sons (Private) Limited nine shareholders: Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani (82.28%), Amber Haroon Saigol (9.20%), Zeina Saigol Rawjee (5%), Ashghar Contractor (2%), Zia Mahmood Ali (1%), Hameed Haroon (0.40%); the remaining 0.12% is shared equally by Shabbir Gangat, Ghulam Mirza and Abdul Aziz.

Pyramid Media (Private) Limited is owned by Amber Haroon Saigol (55.10%) and her daughter Zeina Rawji (44.90%). Therefore, Herald Publications is mostly controlled by Amber Haroon Saigol, who has through the two above mentioned companies around 47.70%, Zeina Rawji with 43.20% and Nazafreen Saigol Lakhani with 8.94% of shares.

Voting Rights

Missing Data

Individual Owner

Media Companies / Groups

General Information

Founding Year


Affiliated Interests Founder

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Also known as Quaid-e-Azam (The Great Leader), he is the founding father of Pakistan.

Affiliated Interests Ceo

Hameed Haroon

Having started his professional career back in the late 1970s as the deputy chief executive of Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited that owns daily Dawn, he took over as the Chief Executive Officer of the company in the late 1990s. He subsequently has served many stints as the president of the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS), an association that represents the country’s newspaper owners.
Over the last forty years, Hameed Haroon has started many publications. These include an evening newspaper, daily Star, an advertising magazine, Aurora, and a technology magazine, Spider, (that closed down in 2015). He also changed the company’s flagship magazine, Herald, in the early 1980s from a society journal into a current affairs one. Since then, the magazine has become one of the most credible sources of news, views and reviews in the country.
A patron of arts and culture, Hameed Haroon has played a major role in the restoration and revival of many historical buildings in Karachi. He also hosts a music show on City FM 89 radio station and has compiled and published collectors’ editions of books on world renowned painter Sadequain and globally famous poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz – among some others.
Hameed Haroon’s grandfather, Haji Sir Abdullah Hussain Haroon, was a prominent businessman and politician in the British India. He was a member of the Karachi Municipality twice (1913-16 and 1921-34), a member of the Indian National Congress (1917-19) and the president of Sindh Provincial Muslim League (1920-30).
Hameed Haroon’s paternal uncle, Mehmoud Abdullah Haroon, founded the Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited that owns Daily Dawn and a number of other publications. Mehmoud Abdullah Haroon was also the mayor of Karachi (1954-55), federal interior minister (1978-84), federal defence minister (June-December 1988), governor of Sindh province (1990-1993 and 1994-95) and the co-founder of an English language daily Khaleej Times, launched in 1978 from Dubai.
Hameed Haroon’s other paternal uncle, Yusuf Abdullah Haroon, briefly worked as chief editor of Dawn in 1966 after its long serving editor Altaf Hussain became a minister in the cabinet of Pakistan’s first military dictator General Ayub Khan. Yusuf Abdullah Haroon was also a member of the last central legislative assembly of the British India, Jinnah’s aide-de-camp, the governor of West Pakistan (March–September 1969) and chief minister of Sindh province (1949-50).
Hameed Haroon’s father Said Abdullah Haroon set up Eastern Film Studios in Karachi in the mid-1950s. He was also the founding editor of Eastern Film, a monthly magazine launched in 1959 to cover Pakistan’s nascent cinema.
Hameed Haroon’s father and uncles – Yusuf Abdullah Haroon, Mehmoud Abdullah Haroon and Said Abdullah Haroon -- also cofounded Haroon Oils, an importer and distributor of motor oils and lubricants, in 1964.
Hameed Haroon’s cousin Amber Haroon Saigol is the chairperson of Dawn Media Group which includes Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited and many other companies.
Hameed Haroon’s elder brother, Hussain Haroon, was Pakistan’s foreign minister (May-August 2018), Pakistan’s permanent representative in the United Nations (2008-12) and the speaker of the provincial assembly of Sindh (1985–86).

Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief

Zaffar Abbas

A journalist since 1981, he started his career as a reporter with The Star, a now defunct daily evening newspaper published by the Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited. He also reported for the Khaleej Times (1984-1992), worked as a reporter for the Herald (1988-2006) and served as a Pakistan correspondent for BBC radio (1990-2006). In 2006, he became daily Dawn’s resident editor in Islamabad. He held that position till 2010 when he became the editor of the newspaper.

Affiliated Interests other important people

Amber Haroon-Saigol

is the chairperson of the Dawn Media Group which includes Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited, founded by her father Mehmoud Abdullah Haroon.


Haroon House, Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Karachi

Tel.: +92(0)-21-111-444-777

Fax: +92(0)-21-35637278



Financial Information

Revenue (in Mill. $)

USD 28 M / PKR 3 B

Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

USD 0.36 Million / PKR 38 Million

Advertising (in % of total funding)

USD 22 Million / PKR 2.33 Billion (78.57%)

Market Share

Missing Data

Further Information

Meta Data

The outlet was sent information request on 15 January 2019 through a courier company as well as by email. It did respond after a reminder was couriered on 1st February 2019 and emailed on 4 February 2019 but the information provided was brief and sketchy. Its financial and administrative information is also not available online.

The financial information used in this media outlet profile has been obtained from a report that Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited submitted to the SECP about the financial year that started on July 2017 and ended on June 30, 2018.

The revenue and profit mentioned above also pertain to the whole of Pakistan Herald Publications (Private) Limited (which also owns some other news publications) and not to daily Dawn alone.

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