Liberty Papers Private Limited, part of Khabrain Group published the daily Khabrain. The company came about as a result of a rather unique and innovative financing model devised by its founder Zia Shahid. He invited prospective reporters and newspaper distributors to invest small amounts of money and become the owners of a newspaper, Urdu language daily Khabrain, that he intended to bring out from Lahore in 1991.
Some larger investors who had sided with him during his unsuccessful bid for the financial and administrative control of daily Pakistan, that had started under his editorship a year earlier, also left that newspaper and joined his latest project. When, finally, Liberty Papers Private Limited was registered with the government, it had more than 1500 owners, many of them having invested as little as PKR 1000 in it.
Overtime, Zia Shahid not just bought back hundreds of thousands of shares from small investors, he also started involving his children in the running of the company. By the early 2000s, all his three children were helping him run the media outlets he owned. This is how the house of Zia Shahid joined the country’s family-owned media groups.
Today, he, his wife, his children and their spouses, and his many grandchildren together are the single largest group of shareholders in Liberty Papers Private Limited. The company’s many smaller shareholders include a former prime minister Meraj Khalid (who died in 2003), a former interior minister Mian Hamid Sarfaraz and a former information minister and Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani. Another group of its investors consists of small business owners – such as jewelers, fruit sellers, vegetable dealers, owners of medical stores, proprietors of restaurants, bakers and confectioners – from across Pakistan.
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The family of Aleem Chaudhry
Aleem Chaudhry was a working journalist based in Multan, a city in southern part of Punjab province when, in the early 1990s, he invested a large sum of money in Liberty Papers Private Limited. He subsequently became the resident editor of Khabrain’s Multan edition when it first came out and held that position till his death a couple of years ago. Together with his wife Suriya Aleem, he is still recorded as a major shareholder in Liberty Papers Private Limited.
Dr Muzzafar Un Nisa
No information is available about Dr Muzzafar Un Nisa in the public sphere. The government documents about Liberty Papers Private Limited show her as the resident of a certain address in Lahore’s Model Town area. Four other residents of the same address are also shown in the same documents as minor shareholders of the same company. It is not known if they are related to each other or to Dr Muzzafar Un Nisa.
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Khabrain Communications Private Limited
Affiliated Interests Founder
unhappy with being overlooked for appointment to the post of editor, he left daily Jang in the late 1990s and started daily Pakistan, an Urdu language newspaper, from Lahore in 1990. Within a few months, he left daily Pakistan too and started another Urdu language daily, Khabrain, in September 1992 – also from Lahore.
Soon afterwards, Zia Shahid launched Sahafat, an evening newspaper in Urdu, which immediately earned fame, or notoriety, for a targeted and scandalous coverage of doctors, private hospitals, eateries and bakeries in Lahore. In 1994, its editor Khushnood Ali Khan developed differences with Zia Shahid and the two parted ways. The split resulted in the latter losing the ownership of Sahafat to the former.
Zia Shahid subsequently founded a number of others news outlets that include a daily newspaper in Punjabi language, Khabraan, a daily newspaper in Sindhi language, Kabroon, and an English language daily, The Post. He also founded Channel 5, a news television channel, in 2012. Except for daily Khabrain, most of these outlets are either dying or they are already dead.
Zia Shahid has been active in various forums associated with news media too. His most recent initiative in this regard was to collaborate with many other journalists, editors and newspaper publishers to set up Pakistan News Media Association (PNMA) in March 2019. The association is meant to promote coordination, cooperation and networking among people working in different categories and sub-sectors of the news media industry. He was also the president of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) in 2017-18.
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based in Multan city in southern part of Punjab province, she is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.94% shares in it. Her late husband Aleem Chaudhry was resident editor of daily Khabrain’s Multan edition. He was also a director and shareholder in Khabrain Communications Private Limited, another Khabrain Group company.
based in Lahore, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 0.31% shares in it. He is also a director and shareholder in Khabrain Communications Private Limited, another Khabrain Group company.
based in Lahore, she is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 0.11% shares in it. Her father Malik Muhammad Nawaz and mother Bushra Nawaz also own 0.31% shares each in the company.
based in Gujrat city in the central part of Punjab province, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.25% shares in it.
based in Bahwalpur city in the southern part of Punjab province, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.28% shares in it.
Furqan Ali Shah
based in Faisalabad city in the central part of Punjab province, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and a son of Ijzaz Hashmat Khan, the late resident editor of daily Khabrain’s Faisalabad edition. His family owns 1.87% shares in the company.
the chief executive officer and a director of Liberty Papers Private Limited. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of daily Khabrain as well as of some other newspapers owned by the same company.
one of the two sons of Zia Shahid, he is the editor of daily Khabrain and the chief executive officer of Channel Five. He is also a director of Liberty Papers Private Limited and owns 8.12% shares in it.
Zia Shahid’s daughter, she works as the managing editor of daily Khabrain. She is also a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 8.12% shares in it.
the wife of Zia Shahid and a director of Liberty Papers Limited, she owns 5.66% shares in it.
a granddaughter of Zia Shahid, she is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.25% shares in it.
a grandson of Zia Shahid, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 2.09% shares in it.
based in Lahore, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.25% shares in it.
based in Lahore, he is a director of Liberty Papers Limited and owns 1.90% shares in it. He is also a director and shareholder in Khabrain Communications Private Limited, another Khabrain Group company.
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the widow of Ednan Shahid, Zia Shahid’s older son, she became the editor of English language daily owned by Khabrain Group, The Post, in 2007 after her husband’s death but the newspaper’s publication stopped soon afterwards. She also served a five-year stint between 2002 and 2007 as a member of the provincial assembly of Punjab on a seat reserved for women. In 2009–2010, she became the Rita E Hauser Fellow, a research post cosponsored by the Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies. In 2014, she wrote her memoir, Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics, in collaboration with American journalist Kelly Horan.
The outlet was sent information request on 14 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 daily Jang’s ownership structure and its financial status.
Even the data obtained from SECP shows only its ownership structure and no record of its current or recent financial status. This data is also marred by a number of serious anomalies. It contains the names of a number of shareholders who are dead; some shareholders have been listed more than once, each time with a different number of shares owned by them; some addresses are plain wrong – the city of Muzaffargarh is mentioned as Muzaffarabad in a number of entries and a few shareholders are shown to be the residents of a place called Bangladesh located in Pakistani part of Kashmir whereas it is very obviously the name of another country.