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The Zia Shahid Family

The Zia Shahid Family

Headed by Zia Shahid, the family has traversed a unique trajectory to own one of the top media houses in Pakistan.

It does not represent legacy media, like the owners of Jang Group, Nawa-i-Waqt Group and Dawn Group do. It also does not have a business background, like the owners of Express Media Group and ARY Group do. Nor has it been associated with any ideology or political party as has been the case with almost all Muslim newspapers published in the pre-Independence era or with the ones brought out by the likes of Maulana Salahuddin and his son-in-law Abdul Rafiq Afghan who both have had close association with an Islamist ideology.

The family’s progress essentially has been the progress of its patriarch Zia Shahid. His rise owes to the weakening of the government’s role and control in economic activities that started in the 1980s. Coupled with an increase in literacy rates, this liberalization and deregulation resulted in an unprecedented expansion of the news media market in Pakistan. By that time, he had gained huge editorial experience by working with some of the country’s most read newspapers, such as daily Jang and daily Nawa-i-Waqt. More importantly, he had also established links with a large number of newly rich individuals who did not represent the old feudal and business elites but had made money through trade and such middle class professions as medicine, education and law. In 1990, he convinced dozens of such individuals to pool in money for bringing out an Urdu language daily newspaper, from Lahore. After the newspaper came out, he started consolidating his control over its finances and management to the resentment of a majority of investors and other members of its editorial staff. A dispute ensued and he had to leave daily Pakistan.

Soon afterwards, he came up with another innovative idea. He invited prospective reporters and newspaper distributors from across Pakistan to invest small amounts of money and become ‘members’ (read shareholders) in a new newspaper that he intended to bring out. Some investors who had sided with him during the struggle for control of daily Pakistan also left that newspaper and joined his latest project. This is how Liberty Papers Private Limited came about with more than 1500 owners. Many of them had invested as little as PKR 1000 in it. The company launched its first newspaper, an Urdu language daily, Khabrain, in 1992.

With its sensational headlines, sting operations, moral policing and scandal mongering, the newspaper soon attracted a large audience in central parts of Punjab. Zia Shahid subsequently started publishing its local editions from a few others cities as well. Flushed with the success of his endeavor, he then extended his business to the publication of newspapers in other Pakistani languages, Punjabi and Sindhi. In 2005, an English language daily also became a part of his expanding media business – as did a news television channel a few years later.

But just like at daily Pakistan, Zia Shahid’s efforts to assert control over the finances and management of daily Khabrain caused a split within the editorial board of the newspaper. As a result, he had to cede ownership over an Urdu language evening newspaper, Sahafat, to his colleague Khushnood Ali Khan who would also become the publisher of some other newspapers subsequently. After daily Khabrain, Sahafat was the second newspaper started by Liberty Papers Private Limited.

Khushnood Ali Khan’s departure helped Zia Shahid consolidate his position within Liberty Papers Private Limited. He not just bought back hundreds of thousands of shares from small investors, he also started involving his children in the company. By the early 2000s, all his three children were helping him run the media outlets it owns. This is how the house of Zia Shahid joined the country’s family-owned media groups.

Media Companies / Groups
Media Outlets



Libergy Papers Private Limited


Khabrain Communications Private Limited

Family & Friends

Affiliated Interests Family Members Friends

Humaira Awais Shahid

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.

Further Information

Data Publicly Available

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

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Meta Data

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.
The data obtained from SECP shows only its ownership structure and no record of its current or recent financial status.

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