Pakistan Link: Past, Present and Future

Pakistan Link Report

 

Faiz Rehman
Abdul Rehman Siddiqui
Safi Qureshey
Wasi Qureshey


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 of Link.
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

Akhtar 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.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 pakistanlink.com . All Rights Reserved.