Daily Ummat has an extreme Islamist, in fact a jihadist, editorial line. It openly champions jihad both in the India-administered part of Kashmir and against western forces in Afghanistan. It also regularly writes and reports about the real or perceived persecution of Muslims across the world.
The newspaper vociferously supports Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws as well as other Islam-inspired pieces of legislation in the country. Its editorial policy is also geared towards ensuring the social, economic and religious seclusion of a tiny Ahmadi community that deems itself Muslim but is barred by law from saying that in public.
With a motto that reads “we show all that others hide”, daily Ummat has a no-holds-barred approach towards news coverage. For years, it has written about the nexus between crime, ethnic violence and politics in Karachi and has openly blamed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (or MQM) – a party representing Urdu-speaking descendants of migrants who came to Pakistan at the time of the independence in 1947 from the areas which are now in India – as being responsible for most of it. This anti-MQM agenda partly stems from the allegations that Abdul Rafiq Afghan’s father-in-law Maulana Salahuddin was murdered by MQM’s associates. It is also a carryover of the student politics of the 1980s when All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organization, that eventually gave birth to MQM, and Jamaat-e-Islami, with which Abdul Rafiq Afghan was associated back then, fought for the supremacy of campuses across Karachi.
For daily Ummat, ideological lines are drawn very clearly. It always shows moderate, liberal and leftist personalities in a negative light regardless of their services to the state and the society. It similarly does not write anything even remotely critical about its favored groups and individuals which, without exception, are either Islamist politicians and extremist preachers or jihadists and anti-Shia militants.
Daily Ummat frequently publishes front-page adverts to mobilize people on religious issues that it deems publicly important. In a recent example, it urged people in Karachi to ‘reclaim’ a mosque razed by the city authorities because it was illegally built on land encroached from a public park.
Paid Content (PKR 18)
Media Companies / Groups
Daily Ummat is owned by Ummat Publications Private Limited, 95% shares of which are owned by Abdul Rafiq Afghan. The remaining shares are owned by his brother Abdul Nasir Afghan.
Affiliated Interests Founder
Affiliated to the student wing of an Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, he first made a name for himself as a student leader in Karachi during the early 1980s. He was known to be a strong advocate of Islamic resistance, or jihad, against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. He reportedly also went to that country to take part in fighting.
After completing his education, Abdul Rafiq Afghan started working in Karachi at a pro-jihad Islamist weekly, Takbeer. He would later marry the only daughter of the magazine’s founder Maulana Salahuddin who was a champion of global Islamic causes and a sworn enemy of left-wing and liberal politics.
Before he launched Takbeer in the early 1980s, Maulana Salahuddin was the editor of daily Jasarat, the official media organ of Jamaat-e-Islami. He was murdered in 1994 outside his office allegedly by the members of a Karachi-based political party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
After Maulana Salahuddin’s murder, senior members of Takbeer’s editorial staff took over the magazine. They also expelled Abdul Rafiq Afghan from its editorial board. For some years after his expulsion, he and his wife, Sadia Salahuddin, remained estranged too.
She also initially alleged that he had killed her father in order to take over his media house. Before their split could be final, General Hameed Gul, a close friend of Maulana Salahuddin and also a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s topmost secret agency, intervened and reconciled the two.
It was after their reconciliation that Takbeer came to be run by Abdul Rafiq Afghan who by then had already started publishing daily Ummat. He also publishes another Urdu language magazine, Ghazi, though its circulation is very small.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
is the CEO of Ummat Publication Private Limited. See above for more.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
A journalist since the early 1980s, he was initially associated with daily Jang newspaper where he worked his way up to become its deputy editor. After he quit Jang in the early 1990s, he became the editor of Urdu News, a Karachi-based daily newspaper. He was also among the founding editorial team of Daily Ummat.
Affiliated Interests other important people
The wife of Abdul Rafiq Afghan, she is also the daughter of Maulana Salahuddin, a rightwing ideologue originally affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami party and the founding editor of its official media organ, daily Jasarat.
Maulana Salahuddin was murdered – allegedly by the members of a Karachi-based political party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement – in 1994 outside the office of Takbeer, a weekly Urdu magazine he had founded in the 1980s after quitting Jasarat. Since he had no son, senior members of the magazine’s editorial staff took it over. They also expelled Abdul Rafiq Afghan from its editorial board.
Sadia Salahuddin remained estranged from her husband for a few years after his expulsion from Takbeer. She also once alleged that he had killed her father in order to take over his media house. Before their split could be final, General Hameed Gul, a close friend of Maulana Salahuddin and also a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s topmost secret agency, intervened and reconciled the two.
It was after their reconciliation that Takbeer also came to be run by Abdul Rafiq Afghan though its masthead still carries the names of both Sadia Salahuddin’s father and mother as its founder and patron-in-chief respectively.
Room 1,2,3 VIP Block IV,
Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium,
Liaquat Barracks, Karachi
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
The outlet was sent information request on 15 January 2019 through a courier company as well as by email. It did not respond even after a reminder was couriered on 1st February 2019 and emailed on 4 February 2019. No verified online information is available about its ownership structure and its financial status.
The data obtained from SECP shows only its ownership structure and no record of its current or recent financial status.