Remembering the valiant Mir Javed Rehman

He was a fearless journalist and a capable administrator who breathed new life into Akhbar-e-Jehan and Mag

Straightforward, honest and fearless - this is how I remember Mir Javed-ur-Rahman. I have had the privilege and honour of being associated with Jang Media Group for 27 years. Over the years, I have seen the group grow tremendously under the able leadership of brothers Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and Mir Javed Rehman.

Keeping the legacy of their father, late Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman, alive, both have always stood firm in the face of adversity with courage and dignity. At a time when the younger brother is bearing the brunt of revenge for his fight for free media, the elder brother has lost his battle against cancer. These are, indeed, difficult times, not just for the Mir family and the Jang Media Group, but also for the entire media industry.

The fact that the younger brother could not be with his elder brother in his final moments owing to his detention is sad and unfortunate. But this has just made us all stronger. These trying times have made us more steadfast in our resolve to continue to stand up for the freedom of press. I am sure this is the way Mir Javed Rehman would have liked us to behave.

He was an inspiration to all of us. My association with him is even older than my association with Jang Group. I had known him for 30 years, starting from my days in the advertising sector. Later, I was part of the Jang Media Group.

He was not only a fearless journalist, but also a stern administrator, who breathed new life into Akhbar-e-Jehan and Mag, making them the most widely read magazines of the country. He had an eye for the right content and understood what people wanted. He had his finger on the pulse of his readers. He was inquisitive and was thorough with details. He taught his team of journalists the art of understanding what the audience wanted much before focus groups became the norm in the media industry.

Mir Javed Rehman also worked tirelessly for the media industry and served as secretary general, vice president and eventually as the president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS). I remember when I was elected the APNS president, he called me and said he wanted to come over to congratulate me. I said: “I will come and see you instead, sir.” However, he persisted and visited my office with a beautiful bouquet in hand, congratulating me. He told me that I could approach him whenever I encountered any difficulty. I was really touched by this gesture.

Mir Javed Rehman had a commanding personality. As soon as he entered the office, everyone was aware of his presence. He had a kind and compassionate heart. This made him popular among his employees.

I have another story to share here. During his time as the APNS secretary general, he once called me up and informed me that an advertising agency had lodged a complaint against Dawn for printing an advertisement on behalf of their clients and credited it to another agency, without their consent. The same advertisement had been carried by Jang Group as well and he wanted to know why the agency had not filed a complaint against us. I told him that the agency had already spoken to us and we had agreed to credit them their commission. “I cannot have two sets of rules: one for you and the other for Dawn. Rules are the same for everyone. If APNS takes action against Dawn, it will also take the same step against Jang,” he bluntly told me.

His reaction bore testimony to his professional integrity and righteousness.

Mir Javed Rehman had a commanding personality. As soon as he entered the office, everyone was aware of his presence. At first glance, he seemed intimidating. However, he had a kind and compassionate heart. This made him popular among his employees. More than often, one would find him interacting with staff at work, mentoring them and discussing new ideas. This was often reflected in the weekly publications that he edited - Mag and Akhbar-e-Jehan. The magazines were general interest publications that contained not just political or social analysis, but also carried entertainment news, latest trends in fashion as well as short stories and horoscopes. This made the magazine the first choice of readers from all age groups.

The untimely and sudden demise of such a mentor has left a huge void in all our lives. He will always be remembered as a steadfast and supportive person, who helped others and taught journalists to fight for the right. You will always be missed sir. Rest in peace, MJR.

The writer is the Jang Media Group Managing Director and

President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society

Remembering the valiant Mir Javed Rehman