When Lakson Group decided to launch daily Express in 1998, its headquarters were set up in Lahore, not in Karachi where most other large newspapers have been based till then. The move was premised on the assumption that Punjab province, of which Lahore is capital, had more readers of Urdu newspapers than those in Karachi. The assumption turned out to be true as daily Express found a ready audience in that part of the country.
The second radical decision that the newspaper’s publishers made was to publish its editions not just from the main metros of Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad but also from some second string cities – particularly in Punjab – such as Multan, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Rahim Yar Khan. This also proved to be a smart decision as a large number of readers in these places dumped newspapers coming from distant metros in the favor of the one that gave them local news which metered to them the most.
The third strategy employed to attract readers was to offer fat salaries to newspaper columnists who had large loyal audiences. Many of them indeed left older newspapers, including daily Jang and daily Nawa-i-Waqt, and joined daily Express, bringing many of their readers with them.
Daily Express was also launched at an opportune time, coinciding with a confrontation between Jang Group, Pakistan’s oldest and largest group of newspapers, and the government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the late 1990s. As a result of that clash, daily Jang, the single largest selling newspaper in the country, faced many financial and other restrictions that made it cut its pages and curtail its news coverage. Daily Express took full advantage of this situation and all but supplanted daily Jang as the most read newspaper in Punjab in the early 2000s though some of these gains were soon reversed.
Daily Express has a middle of the road market-friendly editorial policy and never hesitates from mixing entertainment with current affairs. It has a conservative political and social stance and a supportive ethos towards the security and intelligence agencies. Sometimes these two factors result in the contents of the newspaper, as well as those of its sister publication, Express Tribune, being heavily censored within their newsrooms. This censorship is done under the direct supervision of Sultan Ali Lakhani who is known to micro-manage editorial contents particularly in order to ensure that he does not fall on the wrong side of the powers that be and the religious establishment.
Even the international edition of the New York Times, distributed to local audiences along with Express Tribune, undergoes the same censorship regime. Sometimes entire articles, news reports and even images are removed from it as they are seen to be either harming the national security or hurting religious sensibilities.
Paid Content (PKR 25)
Media Companies / Groups
Express Media Group
Daily Express is owned by Express Publications Private Limited, 99.8% shares of which are owned by Sultan Ali Lakhani. Its remaining shares are owned by Bilal Ali Lakhani (0.02%) and Aijaz-ul-Haque (0.18%) who is the managing editor of daily Express and the chief operating officer of its news website.
Express Publications Private Limited is a part of Express Media Group (which, in turn, is a part of Lakson Group).
Affiliated Interests Founder
born in 1948 in Gondia, a town in what is now India’s Maharashtra state. His family subsequently moved to Karachi where his father Hassanali Karabhai set up a business in 1954. Over time, this business would expand and become Lakson Group which is now one of the largest commercial and industrial conglomerates in Pakistan.
Sultan Ali Lakhani worked as the group’s chairman till 1988 and is serving as its advisor presently. He is also the chief executive officer of Express Media Group which is wholly owned by Lakson Group and includes Television Media Network Private Limited (that owns and runs some television channels including Express News and Express Entertainment), Express Publications Private Limited (which owns and runs Urdu language daily Express, English language daily Express Tribune and Sindhi language daily Sindh Express), and Express Digital Private Limited (which runs three major news websites – www.express.com.pk, www.express.pk and www.tribune.com.pk -- among others).
Sultan Ali Lakhani has been serving as the honorary consul of Mexico in Pakistan since long. He dabbled in politics too and remained a member of Senate, the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament, between 1988 and 1994 as a representative of a center-right party, Pakistan Muslim League. He once also famously pleaded guilty of committing bank fraud after he was arrested in 2000 by the National Accountability Bureau and kept in detention for nine months.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
is the CEO of Express Media Group and of Lakson Group. See above for more.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
He graduated from Punjab University’s mass communication department in 1988 and started his journalism career in 1989 as a trainee sub-editor at Urdu language daily Nawa-i-Waqt in Lahore. Over the next decade, he became its news editor.
In 2002, he quit Nawa-i-Waqt and joined daily Express, also as news editor. Only a year later, he became the editor of the newspaper and was elevated to the post of group editor after Express Media Group launched other news platforms.
Affiliated Interests other important people
is a nephew of Sultan Ali Lakhani and runs Cybernet, a part of Lakson Group of Companies, that provides Internet, cable television and phone services under the brand name Stormfiber. He is married to Nazafreen Saigol who is deputy chief executive at Dawn Media Group that owns daily Dawn and its website dawn.com as well as some other publications. She is also the Chief Operating Officer of Dawn News television and City FM 89 radio station.
Educated from the prestigious Yale School of Management in the United States, he started his professional career by running Express Tribune, an English language daily that Express Media Group brings out from Karachi, and its associated website www.tribune.com.pk. He is Sultan Ali Lakhani’s son.
worked with daily Nawa-i-Waqt for more than two decades before joining daily Express as its founding editor. A journalist with vast experience, he enjoyed a large loyal readership that religiously followed his daily columns.
Abbas Ather earned his name as a journalist back in the 1970s when he was working as the news editor of an independent Urdu daily, Azad – owned by a group of leftist, prodemocracy journalists and published from Lahore. He experimented boldly with the newspaper’s layout and design, often putting a lone photo with a sharp and succinct headline in a bold font on the front page which was crammed with news headlines in almost every other newspaper of the time.
Some of his headlines for Azad have become a part of Pakistan’s history. One of them appeared in an edition of the newspaper that covered a 1971 public address made by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was to become the country’s prime minister soon afterwards. Idhar hum, udhar tum (us here, you there) is how Abbas Ather summed up the speech in his headline, making Bhutto sound like he was endorsing the secession of East Pakistan (there) in order to come to power in what was then West Pakistan (here).
Plot No.5, Express Way, Off Korangi Road, Karachi
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The outlet was sent information request on 15 January 2019 through a courier company as well as by email. It did not respond even after a reminder was couriered on 1st February 2019 and emailed on 4 February 2019.
No verified online information is available about its ownership structure and its financial status. A couple of online news links from the early 2000s suggest that the outlet was originally owned by a company named Century Publications Private Limited but later investigations revealed that this is no longer the case. It is now owned by Express Publications Private Limited though it is not clear how, when and why the ownership was transferred from one company to another.
The data obtained from SECP shows only its ownership structure and no record of its current or recent financial status.