Newline: a symbol of the freedom of thought in Pakistan
We have been in the business of publishing books for twenty-two years now. For the first seven years, from 1993 to 2000, we were publishing under two imprints: Gautam Publishers and Azad Enterprises. With the start of the new century, we merged both of these imprints into our new venture: Newline. Since then, we have published many new books and old manuscripts.
We specialize in the history of Punjab, South Asia (pre- and post-1947), translations, prose, poetry, social critique, sociology, social and political rights, Sufi thought, people’s rights and tolerance, international, national and regional politics, life writing, and republishing old books with new design. We publish books in English, Urdu and Punjabi. Although we believe publishing in Pakistani mother tongues is an important part of our contribution to knowledge dissemination, this view has not produced an uncritical nativism in our worldview. While we acknowledge the global reach of English, we have neither ignored the Pakistani mother tongues nor the Urdu language. In all these languages, we have given preferential treatment to progressive causes, the struggles of socio-political rights in Pakistan and South Asia. This, we believe, is the way through we can try to transform Pakistan into modern welfare state.
Translating historical, political, literary books from international to regional languages and vice versa is part of our long-term planning. Our country came into being through a pluralistic democratic political struggle; therefore, to safeguard our socio-political rights we need to disseminate ideas that represent all sides of the public sphere but we have never published, nor shall we ever publish far-right as well as extremist, communal and sectarian views.
As an organization we respect all applicable local and international copyright laws and try to remove obstacles in their implementation. Easy access to information and knowledge is a basic right. Keeping in view the financial constraints of readers in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, we must rationalize copyright accordingly. However, we believe copyright laws should encourage writers without hampering a wider dissemination of knowledge. The issues related to copyright infringement in Pakistan, we believe, will be resolved till the Government of Pakistan declares printing and publishing to be an industry in which we can safeguard the interests of readers, writers, publishers in general. The Government of Pakistan should support this sector like every other sector that produces products and employs people. At this moment, South Asian publishers are violating each other’s copyrights because the publishers do not have any incentives for respecting intellectual property laws. The Government of Pakistan should raise this issue in the Summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).