News media companies in Pakistan have changed enormously over the last seven decades – from those owned by individuals, political organizations and cultural and social movements to the ones owned by private limited firms. A few holdouts still exist though. Daily Jasarat, for instance, is owned by a think-tank which, in turn, is linked to a rightwing political party. And, at least one major media house, Dunya Group, is entirely owned by a single individual.
The private limited companies that own news media also have diverse ownership patterns: The older and bigger they are, the more complex their ownership is. The companies that run such media giants as Dawn Media Group, Jang Group, ARY Group and Express Group are owned by both individuals (who usually come from the same families) and other companies which then turn out to be owned by the same individuals or other members of their families. Some newer companies, especially in radio, have straightforward ownership structures: they are owned by individual investors who in many cases are not related to each other.
Then there are some prominent outliers. For instance, around two-third of shares in the company that owns daily Khabrain are owned by one family but the remaining shares are owned by more than 950 individuals. Curiously, even when some of them are known to have been dead since long – including a former prime minister, Malik Meraj Khalid -- their names still appear as shareholders in official records.
Nawa-i-Waqt, one of the oldest and largest newspapers in the country, is also an outstanding exception. It is public knowledge that Nizami family owns it but no formal official record could be found to verify that. The only other company with an untraceable ownership pattern in this database is the one that runs FM 100 radio station in Karachi.