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Rediff.com  » Business » 'Bull' a problem for Pak biz channel

'Bull' a problem for Pak biz channel

November 29, 2004 11:01 IST

What does one call a stock exchange "bull" in Urdu? This is just one of the many problems which Pakistan's only business channel Business Plus is facing ever since it was launched in August this year.

The Lahore head-office of the channel also has to constantly justify its area of operation in a city whose stock exchange has a sensitivity index based on only 25 listed companies.

The satellite channel, only the second of its kind in South Asia (Sri Lanka being the other country), is owned by World Corp Multi Media Ltd, headed by telecom czar Salman Tasir.

The company is relying on the fact that it is Pakistan's largest cable network with 65 per cent footprint in the country to sell the channel, besides the 33 telecom companies that come under World Corp.

While there has been some poaching from the only fully business paper in the country, The Business Recorder, many of those running the fledgling channel are from the mainstream media.

Irfan Asghar, programmes manager for the channel, moved from an entertainment channel to Business Plus and admits that he has to get used to the jargon. "I too have no business background but we feel the channel has a future," he said.

The telecast is between 8.30 am to midnight and runs a ticker showing both the Lahore and Karachi stock exchange trades.

Hamid Waleed, anchor person, though insisted that Karachi's political instability and sectarian violence would make Lahore the preferred destination for business houses. "Already, several old business houses are setting up offices in Lahore, and sending their sons to head this operation because Karachi is no longer safe," he said.

Among those who have moved is Gauhar Ejaz, son of Ejaz Ahmad, Khurshid Alam son of Ashar Alam of the Alam Textiles group, and Arif Syed son of Ahmad Syed of the Sevris shoe empire.

Banks and other financial institutions are tuning in, with the ticker being followed by most brokers. "We will have a strong investigative content on scams," Waleed said.

To answer the question of what a stock exchange bull is called in Urdu, well, the channel gave up long ago and prefers to use "pakeng" (a mixture of Urdu and English) in its regular broadcasts.
Nistula Hebbar in Lahore