|Biographical detail : ||Pakistan’s upright politician.
When Pakistan was still an idea and a dream Mahmoud Abdullah Haroon had the passion to fight for the emergence of a sovereign Muslim state in South Asia.
He became a member of the All India Muslim League in 1942. He served the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as one of his ADCs at the age of 17.
Once Pakistan became a reality, in 1947, Mahmoud went on to hold many important political offices – ranging from Karachi’s mayor to federal minister and governor of Sindh. In 1968, he became Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Britain.
His upright principles clashed against several regimes. After the secession of East Pakistan and Z A Bhutto’s accession to power when things became critical for the Haroons and for the Dawn group of newspapers. The new regime was harsh on the press and sought support for its policies, but when the Dawn group refused to oblige it suffered persecution in several forms, including the denial of government advertising.
Mahmoud went into self-exile to live in London. He went to Dubai and set up what today is among the Middle East’s most prestigious English papers, Khaleej Times, established in 1978.
It is a measure of Mahmoud’s vision and humility that in spite of being the proprietor of the Dawn group of newspapers, he never allowed his two roles – as a politician and a publisher – to impinge on each other. He never interfered with Dawn’s policies leaving it to professional editors to do their job. The principle of separation of the management and editorial working of the newspaper is something unheard of in Pakistan and was Mahmoud Haroon’s greatest act of service to journalism in the country.
Mahmoud Abdullah Haroon was born in Karachi being the scion of the celebrated family. He was a man who always kept a low profile and hated publicity. Even though he was the owner of the Dawn group of publications, Mahmoud never used any of the papers for his personal publicity and self-projection.