Islamabad: Pakistan is better known for bombs
than bombshells, militant compounds than opulent estates. A
few enterprising Pakistanis hope to alter that perception with
the launch of a local version of the well-known celebrity
They plan to profile Pakistan`s rich and famous: the
dashing cricket players, voluptuous Bollywood stars and
powerful politicians who dominate conversation in the
country`s ritziest private clubs and lowliest tea stalls. They
also hope to discover musicians, fashion designers and other
new talents who have yet to become household names.
"The side of Pakistan that is projected time and time
again is negative," said Zahraa Saifullah, CEO of Hello!
Pakistan. "There is a glamorous side of Pakistan, and we want
to tap into that."
But celebrating the lives of Pakistan`s most prosperous
citizens is not without its critics in a country where much of
the population lives in poverty. Advertising one`s prosperity
could be risky as well since kidnappings for ransom are on the
rise and attracting attention from Islamist militants can mean
Wajahat Khan, a consulting editor at Hello! Pakistan,
said they were cognizant of the sensitivity of publishing a
glamour magazine in a conservative Muslim country where many
people are struggling and planned to be "socially responsible
and culturally aware."
"We are trying to be happy in a war zone," Khan said
Saturday at a news conference with Saifullah and other members
of the magazine`s editorial staff. "We are trying to celebrate
what is still alive in a difficult country."
The market for English-language publications in Pakistan
is fairly small. Most monthly and weekly magazines sell no
more than 3,000 copies, said Khan, the consulting editor. But
they hope to tap into the large Pakistani expatriate markets
in the United Kingdom and the Middle East as well.