Islamabad: The Middle East’s leading English-language daily, Arab News, announced the launch of a Pakistan online edition, as part of the newspaper’s ongoing global and digital expansion.
Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan who was the chief guest of launching ceremony at a local hotel in Islamabad said he was “delighted” at the launch of the Pakistan edition of Arab News. It is “a very welcome sign” of Pakistan’s “rebirth” over the last few years, he said at the launch ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
It is the “rebirth of our freedom as a nation that deserves to live in peace” after a “terrible ordeal of violent extremism that we faced a few years ago,” he added. “There was a double jeopardy because this violent extremism was coupled with crippling energy shortages that practically brought Pakistan to a halt — a bloody and dark halt,” he said. “Many industrialized countries issued some very crippling adviseries against travel to Pakistan, and many foreign airlines stopped flying to Pakistan. We were slowly, it seemed, cut off from the rest of the world,” Khan added.
The service — available in English at www.arabnews.pk — covers news and views from Pakistan and the wider region, with a particular focus on Islamabad’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.
It is updated daily by a multimedia news-gathering team led by the award-winning journalist Baker Atyani, head of Arab News’ Southeast Asia bureau. The www.arabnews.pk site is the first of a series of country-specific online editions that the newspaper is planning to launch, and is part of the brand’s “more digital, more global” strategy which was announced last year.
Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, said that the new service aims to develop “a two-way conversation with an extremely important target market for us,” citing the strategic significance of Pakistan and the historic ties it shares with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in general.
“Arab News is already a recognizable brand among many Pakistanis, given its deeply-rooted relationship with the huge expat community in Saudi Arabia, where our newspaper was founded in 1975,” he said.
“There are numerous shared ambitions, opportunities and areas of common interest between Pakistan and Arab countries — from religion and culture, to defense and trade ties. All of these areas will be covered extensively by our new dedicated digital service,” concluded Abbas.
The Arab News Pakistan digital edition will have its base in Islamabad, and will managed by the newspaper’s Southeast Asia bureau chief Baker Atyani. Atyani said that www.arabnews.pk would help throw light on a part of Asia which is not always well-understood by English-speaking audiences.
“It is an honor and a big responsibility to be handling this exciting project for Arab News,” said Atyani.
“It is a natural extension for an already influential brand into a geographic area which is extremely important and badly misunderstood.” Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for over 40 years.