Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coup at Daily Times?

The intellectual lead at the Daily Times in Lahore has resigned. First it was Ejaz Haider, editor of the op-ed page who announced his departure in the paper few weeks earlier. Now the editor-in-chief, Najam Sethi, and the veteran journalist, Khalid Ahmed, also announced their departure.

Najam sent the following email to his email contacts earlier today:

Dear Friend

I have resigned from the editorship of Daily Times. So have Khaled Ahmed (Contributing Editor) and Ejaz Haider (Op-Ed Editor) along with other senior staff.


Thank you for the support and encouragement you gave us in making Daily Times a "new voice for a new Pakistan."


I hope it will be able to live up to your expectations and mine in time to come.

With best wishes


Najam Sethi

Ex-Editor in Chief

Daily Times Pakistan

I have confirmed with Mr. Sethi later about the authenticity of this email. I am not privy to the reasons behind the sudden departures. However, I’d like to mention that I’m peeved at this development. Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmed, and Ejaz Haider had raised the journalistic standards in Pakistan, where the post-Zia era journalism suffered tremendous blows to its integrity.

I would hate to speculate about the motives or causes, but I could come up with two plausible reasons behind this move:

  1. Mr. Sethi and his colleagues are pulling an Oprah, who is ending her famous talk show and is about to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network. Sethi et. al. may be abandoning print media for a bigger role in TV journalism. I wish them well.
  2. Mr. Sethi and his colleagues could also be victims of the NRO debacle in Pakistan where the new political alliances and gulfs are taking shape.
    1. Geo TV’s anchor Shahid Masud is already complaining about attempts to silence him. The President House in Islamabad and the Governor House in Lahore have become increasing uncomfortable as the NRO deadline is fast approaching in late November when the defaulters and absconders in Pakistan will have to face the music.

I for one would very much like to see Najam Sethi, Khaled Ahmed, and Ejaz Haider back in the editorial saddles in Pakistan.

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