Pakistan Link: Past,
Present and Future
Pakistan Link Report
Newport Beach, CA: In 1991, an enterprising
family named Rehman saw the pressing need in the growing Pakistani
community for a newspaper of its own that would connect not
only the two countries, but Pakistanis across America as well.
Faiz Rehman became the editor of the fledgling Pakistan Link
with the enthusiastic support of his father, the noted Urdu
poet Abdul Rehman Siddiqi.
The task of launching the newspaper was daunting, but the
family showed extraordinary zeal in surmounting start-up obstacles
and the paper began to flourish.
Under the leadership of the Editor-in-Chief, Faiz Rehman and
the strong support of his father and brothers, the paper began
to serve as a forum for the Pakistan-American community. Subscribers
multiplied, pages went up and the readership soared.
Blissfully, the community had found an effective platform
to air its views on, first and foremost, politics. Among other
things, one of Rehman’s motivating factors in founding
the paper was to draw more attention to the role that Pakistani
troops had played in the first Gulf War.
Urdu poetry and literature has long been a vibrant part of
the Pakistani cultural scene and it became a popular feature
of the paper. In addition to Pakistan Link in English, Urdu
Link came to serve as a great stimulant for the promotion
of Urdu in North America. With Abdul Rehman Siddiqi as the
Editor, Urdu Link gained immense support and popularity among
the literary circles in North America, Pakistan and India.
Enter the IT Star
It was a measure of the penetration
of Pakistan Link across the nation that only nine years later,
the paper attracted the notice of none other than Safi Qureshey,
the well-known and extremely successful IT entrepreneur who
founded AST. Under the chairmanship of Safi Qureshey, AST
had become a Fortune 500 company with over 6,000 employees
in more than 100 countries and annual revenues in excess of
$2.6 billion. The IT celebrity, who was once described by
Newsweek magazine as the Pakistani giving a run to Microsoft,
added many pluses to the paper, including financial stability.
A full-fledged office was established in Karachi, Pakistan,
which resulted in further content improvement of the paper.
Qureshey’s already-established, high-profile success
in the IT world was also instrumental in introducing the paper
to the higher echelons of Washington and Islamabad. Both President
Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz are admittedly aware
of Link’s role in furnishing Pakistan’s perspective
on various issues to policymakers in Washington.
Like the Rehmans, Qureshey relied on his family for the day-to-day
management of the paper. Safi’s brother, Wasi Qureshey,
as President and Managing Editor of Pakistan Link, worked
with great energy and zeal to introduce all-round improvements,
and his efforts were richly rewarded as Pakistan Link and
Urdu Link became buzz names in the community.
Indisputably, it was Wasi’s vast experience in the Army,
SUPARCO and computer organizations like Audioramp which helped
in establishing a base in Pakistan, automating the publication,
and reducing the unnecessary overheads which enabled it to
survive through the recession and post-9/11 period.
Due to Wasi’s sustained strivings and the painstaking
efforts of his devoted lieutenants - the late Riaz Ansari,
a truly lovable person who despite failing health put his
heart in the challenging task, and Mahboob Akhtar, et al.
- there were vivid indications of the growing influence of
the paper. The University of California, Berkeley, decided
to microfilm the issues of Link, and the national airline
of Pakistan, PIA, carried copies of the paper on its trans-Atlantic
flights. The number of contributors multiplied and the website
registered record traffic as think tanks, policymakers and
interfaith groups began to increasingly peruse the contents
Meanwhile, Urdu Link, under the stewardship of Shabbir Ghori,
also gained immense popularity. Ghori’s background as
a journalist and his enterprise and industry, along with his
role in facilitating the transition from solely a literary
to a popular newspaper, did not go unnoticed. His efforts
were duly applauded by the growing readership.
Link’s Influence Grows
A report of the ‘New America
Media’, the largest national collaboration of ethnic
news organizations, has testified to this welcome trend: “Pakistani
Americans aren’t the only ones who read Pakistan Link.
It also attracts university professors, leading experts on
Pakistan and Southeast Asia and young people. (Editor Akhtar)
Faruqui...says he runs into professors from UCLA and once,
even the Los Angeles County Police Chief, who say they enjoy
and admire his paper. ‘These are heartwarming things
for an editor to hear’, says Faruqui. ‘I am sometimes
surprised at the response. People all over the US read us
avidly’. This is proven, not only by the geographical
diversity of their subscribers, but the many letters they
receive from all over the country”.
More recently, Akram Shaheedi, Minister (Press) at the Embassy
of Pakistan in Washington, concurred with the New America
Media report: “It is in my knowledge that the editorials
and the news analysis published in Pakistan Link are accorded
serious consideration at the policy levels of the USA Administration.
The weekly is known for its pro-Pakistan stance and the community
owns it with pride because the end product is quite impressive
as compared to the other similar publications of the community”.
A Man with Goals
May 14, 2007 marked the beginning
of a new chapter in the history of Pakistan Link with Arif
Mansuri assuming charge of President and Managing Editor of
the paper. He comes with a sound academic background - two
Masters degrees from American universities and many professional
attainments to his credit. His priorities and goals are well-defined.
The mission of the paper, clearly spelled out by him, is to:
* Promote the positive image of Pakistan
in North America.
* Influence the policy and policymakers at
all levels of the governments of the United States and Pakistan,
for strengthening the Pakistan-US ties and betterment of Pakistanis
all around the globe.
* Deliver news and information of interest
to the Pakistani-American community, effectively and efficiently,
using the print and Internet- based newspaper.
* Link the Pakistani-American community by
providing a platform to discuss issues that impact their everyday
life in the US. Also to forge links between the Pakistani-American
community and the host community.
Mansuri also plans to create a nationwide directory of Pakistani-American
businesses and individuals to bring the community together
through the widely accessed website of Pakistan Link.
Under Mansuri’s stewardship, Pakistan Link is poised
to break new ground and to be a greater source of strength
for the community.
Faruqui Continues as Editor
Mahmud Faruqui, Editor of Pakistan Link, will continue to
edit the newspaper after the change in ownership.
Before joining Pakistan Link, Faruqui served as Assistant
Editor of Dawn, a leading Pakistani daily newspaper based
in Karachi, and earlier, as Principal Public Relations Officer
of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Faruqui has contributed
papers to UNESCO and IAEA publications and has rendered editorial
services to the UN International Center for Theoretical Physics
founded by Nobel Laureate Professor Abdus Salam in Italy.
Says Mansuri, “Faruqui is an icon of journalism in North
America. Over the years Pakistan Link has maintained very
high standards of unbiased reporting and editorials. I hope
and pray that with Faruqui as the Editor, Pakistan Link will
achieve even higher levels of journalistic integrity and popularity
among the community”.
It is Mansuri’s resolve that Pakistan Link should serve
the community even better than in the past. He is keen that
the paper conforms to mainstream standards, and with time,
achieves the distinction of being better than the best! In
this ambitious and herculean task, Mansuri believes community
support would play a decisive role.