Dawn Mafia

The newspaper Dawn, was funded by members of the All India Muslim League in their struggle for Pakistan, and founded by the Father of the Nation in Delhi. After independence, Muslim League journalists brought Dawn newspaper from Delhi to Karachi, and printed it on the Muslim League press set up by the local Muslim League leader, Mr. Yusuf Haroon.

Mr. Yusuf Haroon was the son of Seth Haji Sir Abdoola Haroon, a Memon from Kutch in Indian Gujrat whose family had migrated to Karachi, was a rags to riches story as he began working as a child as an assistant bicycle repairman and rose to become the sugar King and one of the richest businessmen in Sindh. Sir Abdoola Haroon, joined Indian National Congress, followed by Khilafat Movement led by Mahatama Gandhi and the All-India Muslim Conference which was established by the Aga Khan against the Muslim League, as a platform for Muslims who wanted to bring about harmonious relations between various religious communities, and considered the Muslim League to be communal.

Sir Abdoola Haroon held a meeting at his residence on Sunday 7 June 1936, to discuss the formation of the Sindh Unionist Party/the Sind Ittehad Party. The Sind Ittehad Party of Haji Sir Abdoola Haroon and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto was described by Shaikh Abdul Majid as ‘a frantic effort on the part of some well-known Muslim reactionaries to secure their own position in the future government’. Shaikh Abdul Majid vowed to oppose Sir Abdoola Haroon and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the stalwarts of the Sindh Unionist Party/the Sind Ittehad Party in the Sindh Legislative Assembly election held on 31 January 1937. After their defeat in election, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto left Sindh and Sir Abdoola Haroon tried to mend his relations with Jinnah and the Muslim League.

Mr. Yusuf Haroon wanted to bring out his own paper in place of Dawn. He mentioned this to the Quid-e-Azam, who got very angry and told him that he would have him arrested. Mr. Yusuf Haroon told me that he took Mr. Jinnah very seriously, therefore he took the first flight abroad

Mr. Yusuf Haroon took out Herald in place of Dawn in April 1950, but this was foiled by the Madar-i-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah with the help of people. She came out with the statement thatDawn belonged to the nation and could not be treated as the property of an individual’, and people came out in the street. Mr. Yusuf Haroon was forced to bring out Dawn in place of Herald.

After General Ayub Khan defeated Miss Fatima Jinnah in the election for president, Mr. Altaf Husain, editor of Dawn appointed by the Quaid-i-Azam, agreed to join his cabinet and Mr. Yusuf Haroon took over as the chief editor of Dawn. When Mr. Yusuf Haroon came in conflict with the government and was forced to leave the country, he appointed Altaf Gauhar, who had been working with me on a soda ash project for East Africa, as chief editor of Dawn. Altaf Gauhar asked me to join him in Dawn, which was his attempt to repay for the support that my uncle Zafarul Ahsan had given to him after his dismissal from the government by President Yahya Khan by attaching him to Soda Ash project on which I was working. Therefore I thanked him but did not accept. Altaf Gauhar appointed S. R. Ghouri, who had been sacked by Mr. Bhutto as editor of the Morning News to make a place for Sultan Ahmed as its  editor.

The attacking editorials of Altaf Gauhar and the biting columns of Ghouri rattled Mr. Bhutto. Once when Mr. Bhutto said in a public speech that ‘the Himalya will cry’, Altaf wrote an editorial saying that mountains do not cry. Mr. Bhutto in his next public speech, referring to Altaf Gauhar’s specs said that, ‘despite his four eyes, cannot see that rivers gush forth out of mountains when mountains cry’. As Gauhar and Ghouri would not stop criticising Mr. Bhutto and his government it culminated in the arrest of Altaf Gauhar and the sacking of Ghouri. While Altaf Gauhar accepted Abidi’s invitation to live in U.K. and take out a magazine on third world. Mr. Ghouri survived by joining two of the most important foreign newspapers and writing for them in his usual manner. This annoyed the government but gave him protection from direct assault, because Mr. Bhutto was not prepared to annoy the foreign press. However, the government made sure that Ghouri did not even get a place to set up an office from where he could operate. Therefore I offered him rooms on eighth floor of my office. He asked for separate locks for the rooms, because he thought that intelligence people might try to break into his office. But he came a few days later to thank me and say that he and his family were being threatened and abused all the time by Government agents, and he would not like it to happen to me. Ghouri ultimately left to live in USA.

Yusuf Haroon handed over Dawn to his younger brother Mehmood, who made his brother-in-law Khawaja Rehman (Mana ji), the CEO of Dawn, who received two bullets on the Boat Club stairs and carried one of them till his dying day. Mr. Mehmood Haroon compromised with the government and used Dawn to become Governor of Sindh, federal minister, etc. After the death of Mana ji, he employed one of his nephews, Hameed Haroon, as its CEO. When Yusuf Haroon returned from exile under the next government, and asked his brother to give him back Dawn, he was refused; therefore he filed a case against his brother, Mehmood Haroon, and his nephew, Hameed Haroon.

Lady Abdoola Haroon who had appointed Begum Majeed Malik treasurer of two of her projects, used to tell her that if she did not keep a tight control over finances some of her male descendants would be in prison. Her daughter, Dr. Shaukat Haroon, was worried about her son Ali who was active as Hali Gali, a group of boys led by her son Ali and Ghazanfar Hidayatullah. She asked me to ask my brother to get Ali to do law and to join him in practice. Thus Ali and Lari came into existence in Dawn building. And when Hameed Haroon came back from studies abroad Begum Majeed Malik asked me to take him into the Heritage Foundation, but after he learnt the value of Heritage he resigned by writing in Chinese and took to trading in Heritage artifacts. Despite his study of Chinese, he had not learnt the Confucian respect for his elders.

 

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