Fasi Zaka (born 9 October 1976) is a television host, satirist, political columnist, radio talk show host, music critic, academic and Rhodes Scholar in Pakistan. He is recognized for a successful presence in print, television and radio, he is a public intellectual who employs humour from a political and democratic perspective in his media forays. Because of this extensive presence he was declared one of Pakistan's newsmakers of the year in 2006. Fasi Zaka also occasionally comments on the Pakistani media and politics to National Public Radio (NPR). He is also known for hosting awards ceremonies and speaking engagements. Fasi Zaka has been a declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for 2012.
Born to a Pakhtun family from Charsadda, Zaka received his elementary schooling in Peshawar, where he stayed until he acquired his Bachelor's degree from Edwardes College in Peshawar and Master's degree from the University of Peshawar. Zaka is also a University of Oxford postgraduate funded as a Rhodes Scholar in the session 2001–03 from Somerville College where he was elected President of the MCR for Graduates and subsequently elected life member. He is a member of the Mohammadzai tribe.
On The Fringe
He rose to prominence in 2004 as the host of the off-beat program called On the Fringe which he also scripted for Indus Music and later MTV Pakistan. It was a collaboration with his friend and cousin, Zeeshan Parvez. The show received critical appeal and is the only programme of Indus Music that MTV Pakistan kept in its original format once Indus Music was shelved to become MTV Pakistan. On The Fringe was thematically based as a guerilla interview programme that asked Pakistan's politically powerful entertainment figures counter culture, political questions and challenged prejudices. Fasi Zaka, already known to the public through On The Fringe, first came to the entertainment industry's attention after hosting the 3rd Annual Indus Music Awards, an event marked by mismanagement that became the material of Zaka's adlibbing.
News, Views and Confused
On 11 April 2007, Zaka started to host and script a political and social satire show on one of Pakistan's leading TV channels, AAJ TV. The show News, Views & Confused was co-hosted by Nadeem F. Paracha and Mohsin Sayeed, with scripting by Zaka. The show received significant international attention through The Washington Post and other publications for its programmes during the second emergency declared during President Musharraf's rule in 2007 amidst a severe clampdown on press freedom. The show ended its run in 2008.
Gateway on PTV World
Fasi Zaka currently hosts Gateway on PTV World, an education and careers programme available terrestrially in Pakistan.
Columns in print
Zaka is currently a weekly opinion editorial writer for The Express Tribune, the paper which also brings out the International Herald Tribune in Pakistan. He used to write as a columnist for the leading Pakistani newspaper, The News International, where he wrote the weekly political opinion editorial column The Pakistan Report Card and the pop culture criticism column titled His Bigness in the Instep segment of the Sunday edition. He also wrote a bi-weekly light humour diary column in the weekly magazine The Friday Times under the heading, Man Friday. His columns about branding and branding strategy are also an occasional feature of the advertising magazine Aurora. As a writer some of his prominent themes have included bringing back rationality into civil dialogue, political satire, debunking conspiracy theories that affect the national discourse in Pakistan, and taking on right wing conspiracy theorists and hate-mongers in the press
Zaka headlines one of Pakistan's most listened to radio shows, The Fasi Zaka and Friends Show, on the Pakistani FM radio station Radio One FM 91, which is aired nationally. It has been the subject of features in the Los Angeles Times, and AFP noting how it dispenses mass therapy and questions accepted truths. The show is aired three times a week, and is known for its absurdist humour and liberal politics embedded in the jokes. It was because of the show and its appeal that the British Council Pakistan linked up with Fasi Zaka to create Ace Encounter, an edutainment programme that used his appeal with the youth to send out educational advice.
Previously, outside Fasi Zaka's media work, he was the "Head of Ideas" for ADCOM based in Islamabad. ADCOM is a Pakistani advertising agency that bagged the most Aurora Awards for Advertising. He also consults, and has done work for the World Bank, ACCA, ICRC and the British Council. He first worked for several years as an academic at the Institute of Management Sciences in Peshawar, Khyber Pukhtoonkwa
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