|Najam Aziz Sethi
نجم عزیز سیٹھی
|Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board|
24th June 2013 – present
|Preceded by||Zaka Ashraf|
|16th Chief Minister of Punjab|
27 March 2013 – 6 June 2013
|Preceded by||Shahbaz Sharif|
|Succeeded by||Shahbaz Sharif|
|Born||1948 (age 65–66)
Jhang, Punjab Province, West-Pakistan
|Children||Ali Sethi and Mira Sethi|
|Alma mater||Government College University, Lahore; Cambridge University|
|Known for||1999 arrest by ISI|
|Notable credit(s)||Editor-in-Chief The Friday Times|
|Awards||CPJ International Press Freedom Award (1999)
Golden Pen of Freedom Award (2009)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2014)|
Najam Aziz Sethi (Urdu/Punjabi: نجم سیٹھی; born c. 1948) is the 16th and former (caretaker) chief minister of Punjab. He is an award-winning yet controversial Pakistani journalist, editor, and media personality, the editor-in-chief of The Friday Times, a Lahore based political weekly, and previously the editor of Daily Times and Daily Aajkal newspapers. He also has a popular current-affairs program on Geo TV called Aapas ki Baat and owns Vanguard Books, a publishing house and chain of bookstores.
In 1999, he was arrested by Inter-Services Intelligence following an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on government corruption, and detained for almost a month without charges. In 2008 and 2009, he was subject to death threats from Islamist groups for his papers' anti-fundamentalist stances.
Sethi won the 1999 International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and the 2009 World Association of Newspapers' Golden Pen of Freedom Award.
On March 26, 2013, his name was approved for the interim position of the chief minister of Punjab as a result of consensus between members of the selection committee comprising individuals from both the governing and the opposing political parties. He took the oath on March 27.
Sethi graduated from Government College University in Lahore. 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 student.
According to Sethi, he first conceived of the idea for an independent Pakistani newspaper out of frustration: while briefly imprisoned in 1984 on trumped-up copyright charges, no newspapers had protested his arrest. The following year, he and Mohsin applied for a publishing license under Mohsin's name, since Sethi was "too notorious an offender" to be approved. Called into Nawaz Sharif's office to discuss the application, Mohsin told him that she intended to publish "a social chit chat thing, you know, with lots of pictures of parties and weddings". It was finally approved in 1987, but Mohsin requested a one-year delay to avoid the first issue coming out during the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. The paper's first issue appeared in May 1989.
In early 1999, Sethi gave an interview to a team for the British Broadcasting Corporation television show Correspondent, which was planning to report on corruption in the Nawaz Sharif government. At the beginning of May, he warned by contacts that his cooperation with the team was being interpreted by the Nawaz Sharif government as an attempt to destabilize it, and that officials were planning Sethi's arrest. On 8 May, he was taken from his home by personnel of Punjab Police. According to Sethi's wife Mohsin, at least eight armed officers broke into the house, assaulting the family's security guards; when asked to produce a warrant, one of them threatened simply to shoot Sethi on the spot. Mohsin was tied up and left locked in another room.
Sethi was then held for almost a month without charge. He was kept incommunicado at a detention center in Lahore. Amnesty International stated its belief that his arrest was connected with his investigations into government corruption, and designated him a prisoner of conscience. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists also sent a protest letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, noting the organization's dismay "that the state continues its persecution of independent journalists", and World Bank president James Wolfensohn called Sharif to urge Sethi's release.
On 1 June, authorities charged Sethi with "Condemnation of the Creation of the State and Advocacy of Abolition of its Sovereignty" and "Promoting Enmity Between Different Groups" and transferred him to police custody. However, the following day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the government had provided insufficient evidence to justify Sethi's detention. He was released, and the charges against him were dropped.
My Feudal Lord
In June 1991, Mohsin and Sethi's publishing company, Vanguard Books, released Tehmina Durrani's My Feudal Lord, a "politically explosive" book about her marriage with leading politician Mustafa Khar. In the book, Durrani alleges that Khar mistreated and abused her. It was an "instant sensation" and later became the "hottest book in Pakistan's history". Durrani signed a contract vesting foreign rights with Mohsin and giving her 50% of foreign royalties.
On 19 May 1999, however—during Sethi's one-month incommunicado detention—Durrani called a press conference to denounce him as having stolen all of her earnings from the book, stating that his actions were "an even bigger case of hypocrisy than my experience with the feudal system". Durrani sued Sethi for mental torture, and he countersued for defamation. An earlier dispute over the foreign rights had been settled out of court in 1992. A review of the contracts by the UK newspaper The Independent described Sethi as acting in good faith and described him and Mohsin as "the injured party".
In 2008, when Sethi's newspapers ran a series of editorials opposing religious fundamentalism, the Taliban threatened him with death, causing him to live under constant guard. Sethi also received death threats in July 2008 for publishing an editorial cartoon showing Umme Hassaan, principal of a girls' school, encouraging young women in burqas to "kidnap Chinese masseuses". The joke referred to Lal Masjid, the fundamentalist mosque at which her husband Abdul Aziz Ghazi was a cleric; the mosque had kidnapped six Chinese women that it accused of being prostitutes, leading to Ghazi's arrest.
Awards and recognition
In 1999, Sethi and Mohsin were both given the International Press Freedom Award of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which recognizes journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment. Ten years later, he was awarded the 2009 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers.
Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab
Najam Sethi was appointed as the caretaker Chief Minister (CM) Punjab on March 26 2013, for the General Elections 2013, which are scheduled to be held on 11 May 2013. His name was presented by PPP (Pakistan People's Party) and the opposition, PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz) agreed on it. He then became the Chief Minister of Pakistan's province, Punjab. On 6 June 2013, he stepped down in favor of the newly elected Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif.
Acting Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board
Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif appointed him as the acting chairman Pakistan Cricket Board after the Islamabad High Court had ordered the Inter-Provincial Committee, Government of Pakistan looking after the sports affairs in the country – to appoint an interim chairman until the case is decided. Later on a two member bench of Islamabad high court ordered for the restoration of Zaka Ashraf as Chairman PCB and Sethi left as acting chairman.
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- "Najam Sethi appointed acting PCB chairman. Recently, Nawaz Sharif has again appointed him Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board.". Dawn News. 23 June 2013. Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.