London, Mar 21 (ANI): Hello! magazine is set to launch its Pakistan edition to cater to the country's growing appetite for celebrity news.
Publisher Zahraa Saifullah asserted that through this new edition, which will hit the stands next week, she intends to promote a more upbeat image of the country.
"The heart of our culture is vibrant, effusive and cosmopolitan," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"It is unfortunate that, of late, Pakistan's image has been dulled by the shadow of bad press. But this is not a reality for Pakistanis, who feel misrepresented by the ubiquitous fire and brimstone of media hype."
Instead, she promises that Hello Pakistan - the latest franchise of the long-running Spanish magazine Hola! - will tell upbeat stories of the country's rich and famous, their homes, artwork and favourite getaways.
"We now have fashion weeks, Oscar nods, and celebs that flourish internationally," she said.
"Moreover, our expat community is out there doing exciting things, most of which go undocumented."
There will be no shortage of readers.
Bina Shah, a Karachi-based writer, said that Pakistanis had a deep love of celebrity news dating back to the visit of Jackie Kennedy in 1962.
"Ever since then people have been hungry for celebrity news," she said.
"The UK version of Hello! sells out in the supermarkets every week."
She insisted that irrespective of the role of religious leaders, there was a vibrant party scene in Lahore and Karachi that would help fill Hello! Pakistan.
"Pakistan is just the same as anywhere else, in terms of having super rich and super famous people living their glamorous lives no matter what else is going on," she said.
However, Hello! Pakistan, with its celebration of luxury lifestyle, may not be well accepted by religious leaders who waste no opportunity to condemn creeping Westernisation.
Professor Khursheed Ahmed, a senior figure in the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party, said the magazine would run into trouble if it went against Pakistan's conservative religious values.
"I'm a religious man and this does not sound like my cup of tea," he said.
"If it violates the norms of our society then it could well attract anger," he added.
Although details of the first edition of the monthly magazine have been kept under wraps, a dummy front page promises an exclusive interview with Nargis Fakhri, a model who recently made her Bollywood debut in the superhit film Rockstar, and has made headlines amid rumours of a romance with one India's most popular actors. (ANI)
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