Jugnu Mohsin

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Jugnu Mohsin
Member of the Punjab Assembly
Personal details
Syeda Memnat Hussain

1959 (age 62–63)
Lahore, Pakistan[1]
Political partyPakistan Muslim League (N) (2022-present)
Other political
(m. 1983)
ChildrenMira Sethi and Ali Sethi
RelativesMoni Mohsin (sister)
Syed Zulfiqar Bokhari (uncle)
Syed Iftikhar Bokhari (uncle)[1]
Syeda Sughra Imam (niece)[1]
Syed Fakhar Imam (cousin)[1]
Syeda Abida Hussain (cousin)[1]
OccupationMember of the Punjab Assembly, newspaper publisher, satirist column writer, host of TV shows
Known forProgressivism, Women's development
AwardsCPJ International Press Freedom Award (1999)

Syeda Maimanat Mohsin (born 1959), commonly known as Jugnu Mohsin, is a Pakistani politician and journalist. She was an independent member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab until 31 March 2022 and then joined PML(N) on 1 April 2022.

Previously, she has served as an editor of The Friday Times and Good Times.[2][3][4] She previously hosted an eponymous weekly talkshow Jugnu.

Born into a wealthy Punjabi family, Mohsin studied law at University of Cambridge, where she met and married journalist Najam Sethi in 1983.[5] In 1999, her husband, Friday Times editor-in-chief Najam Sethi, was arrested by the Nawaz Sharif government for his work as a journalist and held for a month without charge, causing Mohsin to launch an international campaign for his release. That year, she and Sethi were awarded the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

She won the 2018 Elections from PP 184 Constituency of Okara District by obtaining 62,506 votes.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

She was born as Syeda Maimanat Mohsin to a landed gentry family.[7]

She received her early education from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Lahore and did her A-level from the Moreton Hall School.[5] She received her law degree from the University of Cambridge and was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn, London.[5]

Journalism career[edit]

In 1984, Sethi was imprisoned on a charge of copyright but no Pakistani newspaper had protested the arrest. This led to Mohsin and Sethi wishing to commence their own independent newspaper. Sethi's name carried some infamy and so they applied for a publishing licence under Mohsin's name.

Called into Nawaz Sharif's office to discuss the application, Jugnu Mohsin told him that she intended to publish "a social chit chat thing, you know, with lots of pictures of parties and weddings". It was finally approved in 1987, but Mohsin requested a one-year delay to avoid the first issue coming out during the dictatorship of General Zia ul Haq. The paper's first issue appeared in May 1989.[8]

1999 kidnapping incident[edit]

In early 1999, Sethi gave an interview to a journalist from the BBC television program, Correspondent. The program planned to expose corruption in the Pakistani government.[9] At the beginning of May 1999, Sethi was warned that his arrest was imminent.[9] On 8 May 1999, Sethi was taken from his home by government agents.[10]

Mohsin said at least eight armed officers broke into their house; the family's security guards were assaulted; and no warrant was shown. Sethi was threatened and she was tied up and left locked in another room.[9] Sethi was held for almost a month without charge. He was kept in the custody of the army intelligence group, Inter-Services Intelligence in Lahore.[11]

Mohsin publicly campaigned for his release and continued to publish the Friday Times. Amnesty International stated that Sethi's arrest was connected with his investigations into government corruption, and designated him a prisoner of conscience.[12] The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter of protest letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, noting the organisation's dismay "that the state (Pakistan) continues its persecution of independent journalists".[10] The World Bank president, James Wolfensohn called Sharif to urge for Sethi's release.[13]

On 1 June 1999, the Pakistan government charged Sethi with "condemnation of the creation of the State and advocacy of the abolition of its sovereignty" and "promoting enmity between different groups". Sethi was transferred to the custody of the police. However, the following day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the government had not provided sufficient evidence to justify Sethi's detention. Sethi was released, and the charges against him were dropped.[11] Mohsin and Sethi received the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.[10]

My Feudal Lord book controversy[edit]

In June 1991, Mohsin and Sethi's publishing company, Vanguard Books, released Tehmina Durrani's My Feudal Lord. The book relates her marriage with the politician and Punjab landlord, Mustafa Khar. In the book, Durrani alleges that Khar mistreated and abused her. Durrani signed a contract with Mohsin giving Mohsin foreign rights and fifty percent of foreign royalties.[14]

On 19 May 1999, however, during Sethi's detention, Durrani said at a press conference that Sethi had stolen all of her earnings from the book. She said his actions were "an even bigger case of hypocrisy than my experience with the feudal system". Durrani sued Sethi for mental torture, and he counter sued for defamation. An earlier dispute over the foreign rights had been settled out of court in 1992. A review of the contracts by the UK newspaper The Independent described Sethi as having acted in good faith and described him and Mohsin as "the injured party".[14]

Newspaper satire[edit]

During the rule of President Pervez Musharraf, Mohsin wrote a monthly humour column titled "Mush and Bush" featuring fictional conversations between the Pakistani President and US President George W. Bush. She had previously targeted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with a column for his "dim and authoritarian personality" and "his intolerance of dissent".[5][15] Mohsin's sister, Moni Mohsin, satirises the country's social elites with another column for the paper, "Diary of a Social Butterfly".[5][15]

Political views[edit]

Mohsin advocates for a liberal Pakistan and opposes religious fundamentalism. In January 2006, she argued for the right of women to participate in a marathon wearing shorts instead the shalwar kameez.[16] Mohsin is a member of the Women's Action Forum of Pakistan organization.[17] She later became a major critic of Imran Khan's entry into politics.[2] However in 2018, after being elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, she supported PTI.[18] On 1 April 2022, she joined PML(N) prior to the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.

Personal life[edit]

In 1983, she married a Punjabi Khatri businessman Najam Sethi whose family converted to Islam from Hinduism five generations ago.[5] The couple has two children, Mira Sethi and Ali Sethi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Punjab Assembly - Members - Profile of Jugnu Mohsin". Provincial Assembly Of The Punjab website. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b Giglio, Mike (18 April 2012). "King Khan". Newsweek (magazine).[dead link]
  3. ^ "All except one Okara seat won by PML-N". The Nation (newspaper). 27 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  4. ^ "PTI set to grab Punjab with independents' help". The Nation (newspaper). 27 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "A Princess Of Our Times (Profile of Jugnu Mohsin)". The Financial Express. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  6. ^ "PP 184 Election Result 2018 - Okara-II Election Results 2018". hamariweb.com website. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  7. ^ Dugger, Celia W. (26 July 1999). "Memo From Lahore; Editor Held 25 Days Finds Nightmare Never Ends" – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ Sethi, Najam. "'The good ol' bad days', History of The Friday Times newsmagazine". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 22 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Ann K. Cooper (10 May 1999). "Veteran Journalist Najam Sethi Arrested". Committee to Protect Journalists. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "1999 Awards – Announcement". The Committee to Protect Journalists. 1999. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b Ann K. Cooper (3 June 1999). "Najam Sethi, editor of the Friday Times. Released". Committee to Protect Journalists. Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Further information on UA 107/99 (ASA 33/11/99, 14 May 1999) and follow-up (ASA 33/13/99, 21 May 1999) – Prisoner of conscience/fear of torture". Amnesty International. 3 June 1999. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  13. ^ Smith, Terence (23 November 1999). "Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin". NewsHour. PBS. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  14. ^ a b Popham, Peter (20 July 1999). "My feudal lords Amnesty honoured him with its Journalism Under Threat award, but in Pakistan Najam Sethi is still persecuted". The Independent.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  15. ^ a b Wax, Emily (28 November 2007). "How Pakistan's Satirists Poke Fun, Politically". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Pak women run to shake off their country's Taliban past". Hindustan Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  17. ^ Jugnu Mohsin as a member of Women's Action Forum of Pakistan Naar Today website. Retrieved 27 September 2020
  18. ^ (Mahnoor Sheikh) Jugnu Mohsin To Support Ruling Party In Punjab UrduPoint.com website, Published 7 August 2018, Retrieved 27 September 2020

External links[edit]