‘To celebrate a decade of living dangerously’… read the Newsline invite, for a reception it hosted for its ‘friends’ – and it meant every word.
That Newsline came into existence at all was essentially an act of faith. That it has survived is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people who conceived it, those who shared the dream and made it real, and those who continue to keep it alive.
From its very first issue, with the inimitable, indefatigable, Razia Bhatti leading her team, the magazine, which has the distinction of being the only journalists’ cooperative in South Asia, has not lost one iota of its independence and integrity. Reason enough to celebrate. And so we did. At the Avari Hotel, which pulled out all the plugs and made it an evening to remember.
And 400 of Newsline’s friends celebrated with us. Many had set aside other engagements, some of them pressing ones, to be there. Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA, Maleeha Lodhi, one of Newsline’s staunchest supporters, rearranged a hectic schedule in Islamabad to fly down for the evening… Khalid Rauf of Lintas took time out from a meeting to attend… Javed Jabbar and Iqbal Haider left an evening with the British parliamentarians… while designer Faiza Samee, notorious for seldom moving out of KDA, was there and that too miraculously on time! Ahmed Ali Khan, Dawn’s highly regarded former editor and his wife, writer Hajra Masroor, were there even though they received their card that very morning. And bringing back memories of Newsline’s exuberant launch and Razia, were Gul Hameed Bhatti,The News’ Sports Editor, and his children, Kamil and Sara.
It was an eclectic star-studded mix. Movers and shakers of the advertising world: Seema and Taher Khan, Ruby Haider and Hashmi Sahib to name a few. Heavyweights of the corporate world: Azhar Hameed and his wife Nino, Nadeem Karamat, Jamil Janjua and Zulfiqar Lakhani, while Zakir Mahmood was represented by his wife Batool, herself an accomplished photographer. One of Newsline’s truest friends, textile tycoon Farooq Sumar, came to celebrate with us. Also there was one of Newsline’s first advertisers, Sultan Anwar, and first subscribers, Jalal al Karimi. Artists, Mehr Afroze, Amin Gulgee, Shahid Sajjad and Riffat Alvi came, as did TV personalities, Sahira Kazmi, Sultana Siddiqui, Bushra Ansari, Najam-uz-Zaman, Arshad Mahmood and Ghazanfar Ali. There were politicians of all persuasions, diplomats, the journalists fraternity, including Najma Sadeque, Asif Noorani, Riaz Mansuri, M.B. Naqvi and Inquilab Matri. Karachi’s haute couture brigade – many of whom had their first shoots with Newsline – Rizwan Beyg, Imrana Ahmed, Sonya Battla, Deepak Perwani and Shamoon added the designer touch. And finally, our families and friends who have stood by us through our darkest hours.
There were many there who have been on the receiving end in Newsline’s pages, while politicians, who normally would not even exchange pleasantries, spent a cordial evening together. The MQM was represented in full force by Aftab Shaikh, Nasreen Jalil and Farooq Sattar, while Raza Rabbani, Iqbal Haider and Makhdoom Khaliquzzaman were there from the PPP. The acting US Consul General, along with Lonnie Kelley, his public affairs officer, found the evening inspiring enough to stay to the end, as did Italian Consul General, Fabrizio Nicoletti. Gilles Bonnaud, the French Consul General and connoisseur of fine food, gave his stamp of approval to the delicious Movenpick ice cream served up in coconut shells by having two helpings!
It was a wonderful evening, made unforgettable by those who showed their support and goodwill by being there. And for those of our friends who couldn’t make it, you were all much missed.
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