Geo News is the market leader in 24/7 news and current affairs television in Pakistan. It was launched in August 2002 immediately after the then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf liberalized the airwaves, ending the decades-old monopoly of the state-run Pakistan Television.
Geo News started as a five-member “operation out of a hotel room”, as Mir Ibrahim Rahman puts it, but has been recognized by New York Times as a “driver of change” in Pakistan’s media landscape.
Even though Geo News follows the same socially conservative, middle of the road, market-minded approach that has become a trademark of Jang Group, they have taken several controversial positions along the way. Aman Ki Asha, an initiative that it co-promoted along with Times of India media groupto foster peace between India and Pakistan has helped its detractors to portray it– as well as the entire Jang Group and Geo Television Network ¬– as an agent of Pakistan’s enemies.
An even bigger controversy erupted when Geo Television Network and Jang Group openly opposed the imposition of emergency rule by General Pervez Musharraf in 2007. Consequently, the channel was taken off air for a few weeks.
Since Musharraf’s ouster from power in 2008, Geo News – as well as all other platforms owned by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and his family – have publicly backed Nawaz Sharif’s party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) to the extent of earning the wrath of the superior judiciary for news coverage favourable to him. These platforms have also been highlycritical of the military’s interference in politics. This criticism became perilously obvious when Geo News accused the head of a military-led intelligence agency of conspiring to shoot and injure the channel’s star talk-show host Hamid Mir in Karachi in April 2016.
This proved to be a costly move. The channel’s transmission has been often scrambled, disrupted and shuffled since then – though it has never been officially banned. The distribution of newspapers affiliated to it has also been blocked multiple times and in many places across Pakistan.
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Media Companies / Groups
Geo News is owned by Independent Media Corporation (Private) Limited, 75% shares of which are owned by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. His wife, Mrs Erum Rahman, holds 20% shares while the remaining 5% shares are held by Mansoor Rahman who works as a business executive with Jang Group.
The largest debenture holders in the company are J and S Enterprises (Private) Limited (with 96% debentures), Jang (Private) Limited (with 2.7% debentures) and Pakistan Ink and Packaging Industries (Private) Limited (with 1.3% debentures).
J and S Enterprises (Private) Limited is owned in equal parts by Muzaffar Mustafa Khan (33.33%), Mahfuz Mustafa Khan (33.33%) and Mukarram Mustafa Khan (33.33%). Debenture holders of J and S Enterprises (Private) Limited include Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (who owns 75.34% debentures), Mir Javed Rahman (who owns 24.65% debentures) and Mansoor Rahman (who owns 0.01% debentures).
Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman and his wife, Mehmuda Khalil-ur-Rahman, are listed as shareholders of Jang (Private) Limited – owning 83.33% and 16.67% shares respectively.
Debenture holders in Jang (Private) Limited are Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (73.20%), Mir Javed Rahman (22.48%) and Mansoor Rahman (4.32%).
Pakistan Ink and Packaging Industries (Private) Limited has three shareholders: Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman (33.33%), Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (33.33%) and Mir Javed Rahman (33.33%). Mir Javed Rahman (24.24%), Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (57.58%) and Mansoor (18.18%) are the debenture holders of the company.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and his family, thus, control 100% of Independent Media Corporation (Private) Limited through shares they hold in the company as well as through debentures they have in it and its related companies.
Affiliated Interests Founder
The younger of Jang Group’s founder Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman’s two sons, he is generally known as MSR. He has expanded his father’s newspaper publishing business into a multi-billion-rupee media empire over the last four decades – becoming Pakistan’s biggest and the most powerful media tycoon in the process.
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, who mostly lives in Dubai, is one of the pioneers of online news platforms in Pakistan. Daily Jang became the country’s first newspaper in 1996 to have its internet edition. Since then, this edition has transformed into a fully-fledged news website in Urdu language and has become one of the country’s most browsed online news sources. As of now, almost all news platform owned by Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and his family have their own websites, each with a sizeable audience.
He has shown the same pioneering spirit in television industry and has set up several television channels. These include Pakistan’s most watched Urdu language news channel, Geo News, and the country’s only youth-focused channel, Aag (which closed down after a couple of years of its 2002 launch because it could not earn its keep).
Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s first foray into the news industry, soon after he finished his studies back in the late 1970s, was to run an English language evening newspaper, Daily News. He turned it into Karachi’s largest circulating evening newspaper soon after taking over its management.
He has held key positions in All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), a representative body of print media owners. He has also played a key role in the formation of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) that represents businesses and individuals running televisions channels and radio stations in Pakistan.
Unlike his father who mostly stayed away from directly getting involved in politics, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has never hesitated from taking on political leaders, parties and even governments. In the late 1990s, he had a bruising clash with the then civilian government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif who imposed punishing restrictions on daily Jang and its affiliated publications for their critical coverage of his government. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and Maleeha Lodhi, who at the time worked as the editor of The News International, and some other members of the Jang Group staff faced treason charges for publishing news and views that Sharif did not like.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Born in 1981, he is the eldest son of Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. He received a business degree from a college in the United States in 2000 and became the founding chief executive officer of Geo News at the very young age of 21.
In 2009, he returned to the United States and received a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2011, he received Robert F Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service for his contribution – and that of Geo News – in the media coverage of a 2007 movement by Pakistani lawyers for the restoration of senior judges sacked by then President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf.
Like his father, Mir Ibrahim Rahman has expanded his family business in new directions. He set up Geo Films that has produced such blockbuster feature films as Khuda Kay Liye (2007) and Bol (2011). The former was about the menace of religious extremism and terrorism plaguing Pakistan; the latter was about the rights of girls.
Mir Ibrahim Rahman is also as active in media’s trade bodies as his father has been. He serves as joint secretary of the executive committee of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), a non-government entity representing businesses and individuals which own Television channels and radio stations.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
A seasoned journalist, he oversees the contents generated for Geo News, Geo Entertainment and Geo Super television channels. A graduate of London School of Economics (LSE) and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), he started his professional life in the late 1970s as a member of the personal staff of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan-al-Nahyan who at the time was the president of the United Arab Emirates. Later, he moved back to Pakistan to pursue a career in journalism.
In 1983, Imran Aslam became the editor of daily Star, an evening newspaper published by Pakistan Herald Publications Limited that also owns daily Dawn. He resigned in 1988 and worked in advertising, theatre and television over the next two years.
Since 1990, he has been associated with Jang Group and was a member of the editorial team that launched English daily The News International in 1991.He subsequently worked as the newspaper’s chief news editor, editor and senior editor. He was also a part of the editorial team that launched The News on Sunday, weeklymagazine of The News International.
When, in 2000, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman decided to set up Pakistan’s first private television news channel, Imran Aslam was again instrumental in making it possible. He was made the channel’s founding president at its launch two years later. Since 2015, Imran Aslam has was working as the president of both Jang Group and Geo Television Network. His younger brother Talat Aslam is also working with Jang Group as the editor of its English language daily The News International.
Affiliated Interests other important people
A 1990 graduate of Karachi University, he started his career as a reporter with English language daily The News International. Soon afterwards, he joined English language monthly Herald.
Azhar Abbas was among the first batch of Pakistani journalists who started working for a locally-based private television production house back in the late 1990s. This was when he, along with some other Karachi-based media persons, started Pakistan Business Update, a current affairs programme produced by a private company but aired on state-owned Pakistan Television. He also spent several years working as Pakistan correspondent for CNBC, an American business news channel.
When Geo News was being set up, Azhar Abbas joined its founding editorial team and soon rose through the ranks to become its managing director. In December 2006, he quit Geo News and joined Dawn News, an English language television channel owned by Dawn Media Group. He left Dawn News in 2009 and rejoined Geo Television Network. He quit it again in 2013 and joined Bol TV Network.
This network was a subsidiary of Axact, an informational technology company that was later alleged to be involved in money laundering and a fake degree scam. When these allegations led to the filing of cases against Axact management and the arrest of its top officials in 2015, Azhar Abbas left Bol TV Network and came back to Geo Television Network once again.
The older brother of Azhar Abbas, he is also a renowned journalist and is working as the editor of English language daily Dawn.
Another older brother of Azhar Abbas, he works as a news analyst for Geo News.
The third brother of Azhar Abbas, he retired as a major general from the Pakistan Army in 2012. His last posting was as director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations, the army’s media wing.
He is among Pakistan’s best known – and also most controversial -- newspersons. He has been hosting (with some minor interruptions) the country’s longest runningcurrent affairs talk show, Capital Talk. The show is aired on Geo News.
After receiving a master’s degree from Punjab University, he joined daily Jang in Lahore in the late 1980s as a reporter. Around a decade later, he became the founding editor of Ausaf, an Urdu language newspaperpublished from Islamabad. While working there, heearned global fame for conducting an exclusive interview with al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden only weeks after he had claimed responsibility for 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Hamid Mir was banned from airwaves for a few weeks when he – as well as Geo TelevisionNetwork and Jang Group – strongly opposed the imposition of emergency rule by President Pervez Musharraf’s military-led government in 2007. He also survived an assassination attempt in2014.Soon after unknown gunmen shot multiple fires at himin Karachion an April day that year, his brother Amir Mir, also a journalist, pointed an accusing fingerat the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency closely associated with the Pakistan Army. For a few hours subsequently, Geo News repeated the allegation, flashing the photo of the agency’s chief across its news screens.
Hamid Mir quit Geo News in 2018 to join another channel but he returned within a few weeks. He also writes a weekly columnfor daily Jang.His column is as popular as his television show.
7th Floor, Landmark Plaza,
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Revenue (in Mill. $)
USD 85 Million / PKR 8.78 Billion
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
USD 8.59 Million / PKR 886 Million
Advertising (in % of total funding)
USD 82 Million / PKR 8.53 Billion (97.15%)
The outlet was sent information request on 14 January 2019 through a courier company as well as by email. It did not respond even after a reminder was couriered on the 1st February 2019 and emailed on 4 February 2019. No verified online information is available about Geo News ownership structure and its financial status.
Financial information for this outlet profile has been obtained from a report that Independent Media Corporation (Private) Limited submitted to the SECP about financial year that started on 1stJuly 2013 and ended on 30 June, 2014.
The revenues and profit mentioned above also pertain to the whole of Independent Media Corporation (Private) Limited (which owns some other news television channels as well) and not to Geo News alone.