Pakistan's ARY is backing the liberal weekly title, to be based in London and aimed at the worldwide Muslim diaspora
A media company based in the Middle East is launching a London-based weekly newspaper aimed at Muslim people across the world.
The paper, which is backed by the Pakistani pay-TV operator ARY Digital and will be able to tap its network of reporters covering south Asia, is earmarked to launch early in the new year.
ARY, known for broadcasting the Pakistani version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, also broadcasts to several Gulf states and in North America and the UK, where it launched in 2000 as the Pakistani Channel on Sky.
The paper, which does not yet have a name, will be edited by Burhan Wazir, a former deputy features editor at the Times who was named young journalist of the year in 1999.
Wazir is a former executive at the National, the English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi launched by former Telegraph editor Martin Newland.
He launched a weekend edition of the National two years ago, leaving London for Abu Dhabi and recruiting more than 40 journalists.
Wazir said the title, which will also be published in Pakistan and several Gulf states, will serve the Muslim diaspora in the countries where it is available.
It will be a liberal title aimed at a young and relatively affluent readership aged between 20 and 45, including second- or third-generation British Muslims.
Wazir added that its target audience of young readers with Muslim backgrounds will share a modern, cosmopolitan outlook. "I suppose you could say they have a foot in both camps," he said.
Plans are at an early stage and negotiations with distributors are ongoing, but Wazir said the title should be on sale in around four months' time.
British titles aimed at a south Asian audience include Eastern Eye, which was saved from bankruptcy last year when Asian Media & Marketing Group bought it from its administrators. It is aimed primarily at the UK's immigrant population from across the region, however.
Wazir said the new title will have a different focus with a more international outlook and upmarket content.
He will be hiring reporters and production staff to cover Britain, continental Europe, the US and the Middle East, including at least six reporters based in the UK.
It will have a large freelance base elsewhere and will draw on ARY's existing network of more than 100 reporters who cover south Asia.
Wazir could not give details of the amount of money ARY is investing.
ARY Digital is owned by Haji Abdul Razzak Yaqoob, a Pakistani businessman based in Dubai whose other business interests include banking and retail.
ARY Digital also holds a licence to distribute VH1 and operates a news channel in Pakistan. ARY News also has an English-language website.