Pakistan gives new magazine a rousing Hello!


The first issue of the new Pakistan edition of celebrity and lifestyle magazine Hello! has sold out in three of the country’s major cities, the publisher and distributor said Tuesday. Hello! launched in Pakistan promising a “socially responsible” approach celebrating the best of the country’s culture, fashion and glamour. Publisher Zahraa Saifullah said more than 20,000 copies of the monthly, which features a cover interview with Hollywood star Sean Penn, had been sold across Pakistan since Sunday and hailed the success as a vindication of the strategy. “Our first issue is not a tabloid but a comprehensive catalogue of the nation’s seriously underrepresented bright side; its appeal, grace, beauty and glamour,” she told AFP. “It’s because Hello! Pakistan offers substance that it has received such a phenomenal response.” She said the magazine, cover price 395 rupees ($4.40), sold out immediately when it hit newsstands in Karachi and Islamabad on Sunday and the eastern city of Lahore on Monday. Jamil Hussain, owner of Karachi-based Liberty Books, the largest international distributor in Pakistan, said he had to restock shops in the southern port city — the country’s most populous — at the weekend. “In my 25 years of experience in this business I have honestly never seen such a beautifully produced magazine. It’s no surprise it sold out like hot cakes,” Hussain said. “I personally had to drive on a Sunday to several book shops in Karachi to redeliver stock.” Farid Viyani, owner of Agha’s, one of the largest supermarkets in Karachi, said hundreds of copies were sold just in a day. “I have never seen anything like this. People keep flocking in to buy Hello! our demand is overwhelming, we’ve given the largest counter to Hello! Pakistan,” Viyani said, adding that the new magazine was easily outselling local rival Good Times, known as GT magazine. Saifullah had a strong response to those who questioned launching a magazine like Hello! in a country so troubled by Islamist violence. “Hello! Pakistan is not the first lifestyle and entertainment publication this side of the Himalayas and it won’t be the last,” she said. “All the local glossies that profile celebrity and lifestyle in the country — their editors and subjects, as far as we know, have not been picked up by nefarious radicals as of yet.”