Profile: Najam Sethi

12:26 AM | 6 Mar, 2023
Profile: Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi is one of the leading and vocal media personality of Pakistan and South Asia who marked his literary, journalistic and intellectual presence apart. He tops as an editorial writer, TV anchor, a 'prophetic genius' and an ace entrepreneur unanimously.

His oratory, articulation, sharp and witty sense of humour, and political acumen helped him to establish as one of the prolific journalist, writer and anchorperson of Pakistan. He has been leading a very vibrant, dynamic and proactive life as an ace journalist, as prolific writer, influential communicator, veteran TV anchor, impressive orator and authoritative administrator for last five decades. His diverse work experience in journalism, editorial writing, electronic media, political activist, cricketing management, top bureaucracy and mentoring distinct him among his contemporary writers and journalists. Being an enlightened and rational individual, he follows suit a modern and updated dynamism of thinking and cognitive anticipation. His updated and substantive knowledge of regional, national and international politics helped him earning fame and recognition as one of the best political analysts among Pakistan journalistic fraternity.

Najam Aziz Sethi was born on 20th May 1948 in Lahore. He has been exhibiting his unique caliber and cadre as leading Pakistani journalist, businessman, broadcaster, writer and trainer by all means.

Nationally and globally, Najam Sethi’s educational institutes are St. Anthony's Higher Secondary School, Clare College and Government College University Lahore. After receiving his early education, he was graduated from Government College University Lahore in 1968. Later, he received a Master's degree in economics at Cambridge University in the UK, and spent two additional years there at Clare College as a PhD research. He travelled to the UK to do his masters in economics from Cambridge University and then PhD in 1972. He was awarded the Presidents Gold Medal for standing first among over 50,000 students of Punjab University.

Distinctively, Najam Aziz Sethi took an MA degree in Economics and Politics from Cambridge University, UK, in 1970 and was awarded the Davies Prize for Economics by Clare College. He was a PhD research student at Clare College from 1971 to 1972. This era dawns a new rising of a political activist where he stood his viewpoints and faced utmost physical and mental pain. Dismally, he abandoned his PhD work to join the struggle of the Baloch and Pashtun for their constitutional provincial rights. Resultantly, he was arrested and detained as a political prisoner by the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto regime from 1975 to 1977 for protesting military action in Balochistan province following the illegal dismissal of the elected governments in Balochistan. After this traumatic era, Amnesty International included him among its list of political prisoners in Pakistan at that time and voiced against this inhuman conduct. Finally, he was discharged in 1978 when all political prisoners were freed in this movement during General Zia Ul Haq military dictator.

Significantly, the year 1978 also appeared for him a very productive and historic era when Najam Sethi finally established Vanguard Books, an independent publishing house which has published over 400 titles since then in history, politics and economics. This effort was applauded and all his contemporary intellectuals, writers and analysts.

Najam Sethi was again imprisoned by the military government of General Zia ul Haq for one month (“preventive detention”) without formally being charged for any crime. If viewed critically, we come to know that a political book was published by Najam Sethi’s Vanguard Books. It was titled “From Jinnah To Zia” and authored by the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Mohammad Munir. This book contained harsh realities of fragile democracies and ruthless dictatorship which resulted him for being penalized. 

Despite political victimization, Najam Sethi and his wife Jugnu Mohsin's joint-venture impacted in journalism community. In 1989, he launched The Friday Times (TFT), an independent national weekly paper which espouses internationalism, human rights, regional peace and democracy.  In referential and contextual perspective, The Newsweek Magazine described him in the 1990s as a “crusading editor” for exposing corruption in existing government with documented evidences. Generally it is true to say that he has unfailingly written the editorials of the paper every week since 1989.

As democratic and humanistic mindset, Najam Sethi was imprisoned by the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over serious charges of treason in 1999. Probably, the real reason turned to be the relentless exposure in “The Friday Times” of corruption in the Sharif family and affluent circle. The Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected these charges of “treason” and freed him after one month. 

During his detention, he suffered a heart attack ultimately had to undergo a heart surgery in 2000.This was the also one of the most difficult era for Najam Sethi to confront grave allegations as "Non-Muslim” and fake charges. This was the worst political victimization but he was freed from Supreme Court and other tribunals.

Apart from these political and despotic tactics, Najam Sethi put these aside and kept on his literary and imaginative work. He earned the highest ranks of prestigious journalistic awards and accolades nationally and internationally. He was awarded the JOURNALISM UNDER THREAT AWARD by Amnesty International, UK, and the INTERNATIONAL PRESS FREEDOM AWARD by the Committee to Protect Journalists, New York in 1999. Adding, he was awarded the Golden Pen Press Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers in 2009 for courage in upholding human rights and press freedom. He was also made Alumnus of the Year by Clare College and made honorary Eric Lane Fellow of the college in 2011.

This glowing acknowledgment for Najam Sethi encompasses national and international radius for his visionary and modern mindset. He is the only journalist in South Asia to receive three international press freedom awards in a decade, as well as the Hilal-i-Pakistan, the country’s highest civil award. 

Najam Sethi is married to Jugnu Mohsin, the Publisher and Managing Editor of The Friday Times, and Good Times. They have two children – Ali Sethi and Mira Sethi. Like their parents, they both are exceptionally talented and profound in their thinking and ideologies. His son Ali graduated from Harvard University in 2007. As a matter of fact, his novel -- titled “The Wish Maker”-- has been published in English, Dutch, German, Italian, Turkish etc. Currently, he is a practicing musician who lives and works in Lahore and New York. Mira Sethi, Najam's daughter, graduated with honours from Wellesley College in the USA. She has also worked as Asst. Books Editor at The Wall Street Journal in New York, USA for two years. She is now based in Pakistan as a journalist, TV actor and author of a forthcoming book of fiction from Knopf publishers in New York.

Najam Sethi’s recognition and reverence seem never ended as powerful and highly qualified publisher. The initiative of new English newspaper Daily Times was a tremendous success. It was an independent national daily newspaper published from Lahore and Karachi and Islamabad. Like The Friday Times, this daily paper proved swiftly an outspoken liberal humanist internationalist voice in Pakistan as a whole. Its editorials constantly argued for peace with India, supported the war against Taliban-Al-Qaeda terror and opposed religious fundamentalism and extremism emphatically and vividly.

The journey for pursuing excellence never ended yet as he launched AajKal, a national Urdu daily paper from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in 2008. Within a year, the paper became the most outspoken voice of rational discourse, internationalism and liberalism in the Urdu print media of almost 18 millions masses of Pakistan.

Undoubtedly, Najam Sethi’s inventive and innovative step was continuous process which seem never ending. He successfully set up Beyond Borders, as a public interest production company for South Asia television channels. Primarily, his project was to promote South Asian cultures, build confidence and trust and sustain democracy, civil society and human rights in the region through this platform. Statistically, the company produced 13 short films on the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 based on the short stories of the grand literary masters of India and Pakistan. It also produced a serial titled ROOTS, which is a compilation of interviews of famous Indians and Pakistanis who crossed over to the “other” country at the time of partition and have inspiring stories to share of the warmth, affection, humanity and love of the “other” community. The aim of these projects is to build trust between Indians and Pakistanis, Hindus and Muslims, and promote the cause of peace in the region. Drastically, the project was wrapped up after India-Pakistan relations deteriorated in the wake of the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008 which averted the scenario of the region.

Being a vulnerable political, journalist and social celebrity, Najam Sethi has received open death threats from the Taliban-Al Qaeda and the Taliban’s mouthpiece in Waziristan in 2007-08. Najam Sethi has an “enemy of Islam” by all radicals, who also demonstrated against his papers in Islamabad and openly called for his elimination strongly.

Najam Sethi has earned global recognition as topnotch journalist. Some of his salient contributions at international platform can be enlisted as:  

  • Pakistan Correspondent of The Economist, London, from 1990 to 2008
  • Pakistan Correspondent of The Economist Intelligence Unit from 1999-2005.
  • Chairman of the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association, the country’s apex body of printers and publishers
  • Secretary General of the Pakistan International Book Fair Trust 
  • Served as Chairman of the Afro-Asian Book Council, the apex literary institution headquartered in New Delhi, India, for the promotion of the literature of the two continents.
  • served as senior Vice President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors
  • Hosted “Aapis ki Baat”  “Chirping Chirya “GEO TV Program. He used to discuss the ins and outs of Pakistani politics

Najam Sethi’s other prestigious contributions in diverse cadre can be enlisted as: 

  • Served as Minister for Political Affairs & Accountability in the Federal Government of Pakistan (interim) in 1996-97.
  • Elected Secretary-General of   the South Asia Media Commission to defend media rights in 2011
  • Served as the Vice Chairman, South Asia Foundation, Pakistan.
  • Member of Board of Directors of the International Copyright Protection Board of Pakistan from 2000-2008.
  • Serving as  regular commentator for various international radio and TV channels including BBC TV and Radio,  Radio Deutchewelle, Zee TV, Star TV, VOA Radio, PBC, NDTV, CNN-IBN TV, ABC TV, Radio Australia, Radio Iran, NPR, ARY TV, GEO and other notable Networks
  • Contributed as correspondent of   documentary for BBC  titled: “The inside story of the coup in 1999”. 
  • Delivered lectures at the National Institute of Public Administration in Lahore, the National Defense College, Rawalpindi, the National Institute of Public Affairs, Lahore, Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS) and the Civil Services Academy, Lahore. 
  • Educated the managers and bureaucrats of Pakistan into issues of governance and accountability.
  • Delivered inaugural lectures at the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation in Islamabad and the Asian College for Journalism in Chennai, India.
  • Contributing for the Op Ed pages of: The Wall Street Journal (USA), The International Herald Tribune, The Independent (UK), The Indian Express (India), The Telegraph (India)
  • Najam  Sethi’s signed articles and editorials have been translated and published by international papers and magazines in Italy, Germany and France.
  • A frequent speaker at international conferences in London, Paris, Geneva, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Germany, India, Italy, Thailand, on matters related to Press Freedom, Corruption, Nuclear Proliferation, CBMs and National Security Policy in South Asia.
  • International Trustee of the ASIA SOCIETY in New York and of The Leaders Project, Washington DC, established by former US Defense Secretary Bill Cohen.
  • Distinctively, he is also the founder of Vanguard Books and The Friday Times since 1978
  • Published over 400 titles since then in history, politics and economics.

At political platform of highest cadre, both PPP and PML (N) nominated Najam Sethi as the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab to oversee the 2013 general elections. Unanimously, he performed the assigned tasks efficiently by all means.

Sethi was appointed acting chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2017. Later, Sethi was unanimously elected chairman of the PCB in August 2017.

Sethi resigned as PCB chairman after Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the 2018 general elections and formed its government. After removal of Imran Khan as prime minister and dismissal of the PTI government in April 2022, the PML-N formed its government with the help of its coalition partners.

In December 2022, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed Sethi the PCB head once again. He is currently working as head of the PCB’s Management Committee. Sethi played a vital role in the launch of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Conclusively, Najam Sethi has made his place in indigenous writing, communication and admistration in Pakistan and has been aspiring and motivating the new breed for professional growth and nurturing.


Rupee remains stable against US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham and Riyal; check forex rates

Pakistani rupee remained stable against US dollar in the open bank market on Friday.

Dollar Rate in Pakistan Today

On Friday, the US dollar was being quoted at 285.3 for buying and 288.15 for selling.

Euro moves down to 311 for buying and 314 for selling. British Pound rate stands at 358.5 for buying, and 361.5 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED stands at 78 whereas the Saudi Riyal rate stands at 76.20.

Today's currency exchange rates in Pakistan – 1 December 2023

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 285.3 288.15
Euro EUR 311 314
UK Pound Sterling GBP 358.5 361.5
U.A.E Dirham AED 78 78.7
Saudi Riyal SAR 76.2 77
Australian Dollar AUD 187.2 189
Bahrain Dinar BHD 759.67 767.67
Canadian Dollar CAD 209 211
China Yuan CNY 39.59 39.98
Danish Krone DKK 41.38 41.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 36.63 36.98
Indian Rupee INR 3.39 3.5
Japanese Yen JPY 1.49 1.56
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 926.7 935.7
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 60.38 60.98
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.44 175.44
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.25 26.55
Omani Riyal OMR 741.26 749.26
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 77.63 78.33
Singapore Dollar SGD 211 213
Swedish Korona SEK 26.93 27.23
Swiss Franc CHF 325.9 328.4
Thai Bhat THB 8.23 8.38

Gold rates drop in Pakistan; Check today’s gold rates 1 December 2023

KARACHI – The gold price continues to climb up in the local market in line of upward trend in international market.

Gold Rates in Pakistan Today - 1 December 2023

On Thursday, the single tola of 24 Karat gold was available at Rs217,400, and the price for 10-gram gold reached Rs186,390.

Meanwhile, the 22 Karat Gold price stands at Rs199,282, 21 karat rate for each tola is Rs190,225 and 18k gold rate hovers around Rs163,050.

In international market, the price of precious metal hovers around $2,045 per ounce.

Today Gold Rate in Pakistan

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Karachi PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Islamabad PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Peshawar PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Quetta PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Sialkot PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Attock PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Gujranwala PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Jehlum PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Multan PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Bahawalpur PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Gujrat PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Nawabshah PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Chakwal PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Hyderabad PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Nowshehra PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Sargodha PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Faisalabad PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696
Mirpur PKR 217,400 PKR 2,696


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