When journalism crossed the borders of Pakistan, it had made considerable progress both intellectually and technically. Lahore has the distinction of having not only the oldest Paper in Punjab but that in the whole of Pakistan. This statement appears to be a little confusing, for Dr. Abdus Salam Khurshid, in his book “Journalism in Pakistan’ writes to the effect, that “Kurrachee Advertiser’ appeared in January 1845, a year before the “Lahore Chronicle’„ and thus appears to be the oldest Paper of Pakistan.

The “Kurrach.ee Advertiser’ appeared in January 1845 from Karachi to counteract the propaganda of the Indian Press. The paper was started only a year or so after the annexation of Sind by the British in 1834. It is believed that the Paper was sponsored by Sir Charles Napier who was sent to Sind in 1842 as a General.

The files of “Kurrachee Advertiser’ are not available anywhere,- so it is also not certain when the Paper Ceased its publication. However, Dr. Khurshid says that from evidence available, the Paper continued till March 1850, because it was quoted by the Indian News and Chronicle of Eastern Affairs, London, in its issue dated 18, April, 1850. By that stage, “Kurrachee Advertiser’s first contemporary in Lahore, the “Lahore Chronicle’ had appeared.

Punjab Press

The Punjab had its first newspaper in the shape of the Ixihore Chronicle‘ in 1846, shortly after the Sikh war^ Its promoters were high official* who wanted to strengthen their rule. With the appearance of vIndian Public Opinion‘ in November 1866, by younger civil servants, the Paper collapsed and was bought by the ‘Indian Public Opinion’ and was finally incorporated in vThe Civil & Military Gazette’ which made its appearance in 1877.

The ^ Punjab ee’ a tri-weekly English journal, started in 1856 by Mohammad Azim, father of the Punjab historian, Syed Mohammad Latif, was another well-known newspaper of the early days of journalism in the Punjab, it soon collapsed after a few years but its vernacular edition, Gurmukhi and Persian, which was introduced later continued to appear till 1890.

The turning point in the history of the Punjab journalism was the establishment of vThe Civil & Military Gazette‘ at Lahore in 1877. It played an important role in the development of English journalism in the North Western India. The Paper was originally started from Simla in 1872 as a small sized bi-weekly. As it was owned by people belonging to Anglo-Indian community, its policy was throughout pro-British and pro-Imperialist till 1947 when it changed hands. During the last two decades before Partition, it introduced a special feature projecting the views of Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs in separate weekly columns: Among its editors, the name of the world famous writer, Rudyard Kipling, is of special significance who worked in it when he was a teenager. After Partition, the Paper was not able to maintain its high standard. Its new proprietors were anxious only to reduce the expenses and employed low- paid and comparatively inexperienced persons. It became the supporter of people in power and with every change in the Centre or in the Province suddenly and conveniently changed its policy. The Paper was ultimately closed down in 1963-64. Among its post-Partition editors, the names of Mr. F. W. Bustin, Abdul Majid, Hameed Sheikh and Zuhair Siddiqui could be mentioned. As few years after the appearance of “The Civil & Military Gazette’, another well-known English Paper, the v Tribune‘ was started in February 1881.

It started as an Anglovernacular bi-weekly, but later abandoned the vernacular edition and became a purely English journal. It was opposed to the continuation of British rule in India and was a staunch supporter of the Indian National Congress. Natrajan, an eminent journalist says, “During Kalinath Roy’s editorship of the “Tribune’ the Paper established a great reputation for itself solely due to Roy’s fearless r i independent writing through a period of intense political and rinancial strain”. He was held in high esteem by eminent persons both in India and in England for the quality of his writing and the independence of his thought. After the Partition of 1947, the Paper migrated to India and at present is being published from Ambala.

The only Muslim English bi-weekly at the close of the 19th century was the “Punjab Observer’ started in 1893-94 by Khawaja Ahmad Shah of Ludhiana. It was edited by Sheikh Abdul Qadir from 1898-1904 and its contributors included Mian Fazle Hussain. The Paper continued to appear till 1918.

During the year following World War I, a number of Muslim English dailies appeared. Among them, “Pindi Mail’ was the first to come out in 1920. It remained in existence only for a couple of years. In Faisalabad, there were two English dailies in 1926; namely, the “Daily Commercial News’ and the “Daily Market Report‘. Both Papers were exclusively devoted to commercial journalism.

A few years after the appearance of “The Civil & Military Gazette’ at Lahore, another English Paper, the Tribune came out in 1881. It was started as an Anglo-Vernacular biweekly, but it later abandoned the vernacular edition and became a purely English journal. It was a pro-Hindu nationalist Paper and its anti-League policy was responsible for its popularity among the non-Muslims. The only Muslim English bi-weekly at that time was the v Punjab Observer’ started in 1893-94 by Khawaja Ahmed Shah of Ludhiana.

The Paper continued to appear till 1918. ‘The Muslim Outlook’ brought out in May 1922 was the first English daily conducted by Muslims throughout the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent. It was brought out with the object of voicing the feelings and defending the rights of the Muslims in the North Western India. However, it ceased publication in 1932. Another Muslim daily of English, the Eastern Times appeared in 1931, sponsored by Ferozesons, a Lahore publisher. The Paper was inferior to Muslim Outlook in every respect and therefore could not gain popularity. It was finally closed down in November 1947.

During the early Twenties, the Hindu-Muslim leaders wanted to channelize the national sentiment in direction of a freedom struggle. They decided to launch a mass civil disobedience movement of a non-violent character aiming at complete non-cooperation with the authorities in every sphere of life so that the whole administrative machinery was paralyzed and the British, then, will be forced to hand over the power.

The abrupt end of this non-cooperation movement by Mahatama Gandhi brought in its wake a sort of civil war between Hindus and the Muslims. Political issues were thrashed out and Muslim demands were formulated The rift, between Congress and Muslim League stood crystalized with Congress standing for a centralised and Hindu dominated system of Government and Muslim League for a federation with separate electorates. During this very phase emerged the idea of Pakistan and a vague demand for a free State for Muslims within India.

The immediate causes of Hinu-Muslim conflict were cow-slaughter band-playing before a mosque ;and publication of provocative pamphlets, but the fundamental causes were different. Firstly, there were economic factors. In Bengal the landlords mostly belonged to Hindu religion while tenants were peasant proprietors depending upon them for credit facilities. The political factors were also very much present. With the gradual transfer of power, Muslim had genuine apprehensions with regards to its future.

For a few years, the Muslim leadership seemed to be more interested in the Muslim world politics than in home affairs. Opposition to Ibn-e-Saud on accepting kingship of Saudi-Arabia adverse attitude towards Kemal Ataturk on abolition of Caliphate and demand from Egypt to go to the assistance of Syrians in revolt (against French) were the major factors that continued to engage Muslim attention for a number of years.

Almost all Muslim dailies were primarily pro-Congress with the possible exception of the “Muslim Outlook”. At the same time, they owed allegiance to Muslim organisations striving for Muslim rights. They condemned Shuddhi’ and Sangathan movements which aimed at converting Muslims to Hindusim so that a homogeneous Hindu nation could be evolved; and at organising Hindus on separate militant platform. They gave only luke-warm support to the Tabligh and Tanzeem movements which were started to counteract the above movements. The Papers were almost unanimous on the point that the leadership of these Movements should be captured by nationalist-minded politicians, so that after the storm was over, they could rally the people around a united front for the liberation of the sub-continent.

With the emergence of a clear-cut Muslim stand in the form of Mr. Jinnah’s 14 Points. The Muslim Press was divided into two groups, namely, the Nationalist group and the Muslim League group. The former group took the stand the Hindu- Muslim problem did not exist except in the. imagination of the pro-British and the settlement of Hindu-Muslim problem was not a pre-requisite for the establishment of a united front to attain independence.

They supported Nehru Report and joint electorates and gave a tough opposition to Mr. Jinnah’s 14 Points, they also gave full support to the Congress when it launched the civil disobedience movement in order to pressurize the British to part with power without taking into consideration the Muslim national demand as presented in the 14 Points. In the early Thirties, a group of Muslim Nationalists established Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam’ but stuck to their nationalist and anti- League policy. Under its auspices a number of dailies were started from time to time, but ;they had a short span of life. At this stage, only one English Paper, the Muslim Outlook wes a pro-Muslim League Paper.

The vMuslim Outlook’ started in 1922 was the first daily English newspaper owned by the Muslims and was brought out with the object to voicing the feelings and defending the rights of the Muslims in the North-Western India. It championed the Pan-Islamic movement and was a pro-Muslim League Paper. It was owned by Rifa-i-Aam Press and edited, first by Abdullah Yousuf Ali and afterwards by Majeed Malik. The Paper ceased publication in 1932.

Another Paper, the ‘Eastern Times’ appeared from Lahore in 1931. It was sponsored by Ferozesons under the temporary editorship of Allama Abdullah Yousuf Ali. He was followed by Mr. F. Durrani who had written a number of books on Muslim politics. Though shabby in appearance, deficient in equipment and small in circulation, it did play a role in projecting Muslim view-point. The ‘Eastern Times’ was finally closed down .in November, 1947. For a couple of years, tl\ere existed in Lahore, the ^New Times’, a bright Weekly started by Malik Barkat Ali in 1937. The Paper virtually acted as the official organ of the Muslim League but had to close down in 1940 on account of financial reasons.

Another English daily, the “Frontier Mail’ appeared from Rawalpindi in 1931. It was published for a very short period and was then stopped by its sponsors due to financial handicaps and poor business.