BOL Network

BOL Network (Urdu: بول نیٹ ورک) is a media conglomerate based in Karachi owned by Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, who also served as the CEO and chairman of the media network.[2][3] According to Declan Walsh Bol Network was under the auspices of the fake diploma mill Axact.[4] The media group was supposed to incorporate television, digital media, cinema and theater as well as digital media, but when the parent company of Bol, Axact, was unmasked as a diploma mill selling fake degrees Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority revoked the licence that it had awarded BOL, and the network was not even able to start transmission. Pakistani journalist Kamran Khan was appointed as the editor in chief, but he quit after the Axact scandal surfaced and stated that his conscience did not let him be affiliated with such a network.[5]

BOL Network
Native name
Bol (lit. 'speak')
IndustryMedia and publishing house
FounderShoaib Ahmed Shaikh 
Area served
Key people
Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh[1],
ProductsTelevision Channel
WebsiteOfficial website

Bol has launched its live regular transmission on 25 December 2016.


Initial Start

The BOL Network was started by Pakistani businessman, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh in June 2013, and according to him, it was meant to create an independent media house to portray a soft image of Pakistan and several notable journalists joined the network at that time.[6]

Bol TV claims to be on the Centrist/Left of Centre of the political spectrum but with a strong pro-nationalist outlook.

It claims to have offered insurance of up to Rs. 10 million to cable operators.[7] In 2014, BOL Network advertised on more than 20,000 public transport vehicles in Pakistan.[8] The company also announced a television set brand by the name of BG.[9]

Media personnel

During the early phases of Bol, many prominent media personnel joined the network. These included Nabeel Zafar, Zeba Shehnaz and Haider Imam Rizvi who joined the entertainment channel. Kamran Khan, Mubasher Lucman, Jasmeen Manzoor and Iftikhar Ahmed were reportedly a part of the Bol News channel. However all of them resigned once the Axact scandal unmasked the company as a scam and a fraud.

Locations and infrastructure

The head office is located in Karachi and called Bolistan [10] The network's regional headquarters in the provinces are in Lahore and Islamabad.[10] BOL Network, also operated their own DSNG vans and when the parent company, Axact, was raided by FBR in connection with fake degrees and money laundering, Bol Network used its DSNG vans to create a barricade and prevent journalists from coming near the building.[11][12] When the Axact scandal came to light reliable sources informed the Federal Board of Revenue that most of the equipment used by Bol network had been imported illegally. A notice was served to the CEO under Section 26 of the Customs Act 1969 and he was ordered to submit proof that the equipment being used had been imported using legal means.[13]



Axact Scandal

Initial raids and indictments

On 17 May 2015, The New York Times published an investigative story reporting that Axact ran at least 370 degree and accreditation mill websites. When Axact offices were raided by the FIA at the interior minister's orders, many compromising documents were recovered, including fake letterhead of the US State Department.[14] Subsequently, Axact was sealed on May 28, 2015 and the Information ministry requested PEMRA to close down BOL.[15] On May 26, 2015, Federal Investigation Agency arrested Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh for investigation. The case was filed against him on May 27, 2015 in Karachi, Pakistan.[16][17] The same day he was ordered to submit "copy of the letter of credit, contract or proof of payment in support of the transactions and the source of financing for the procurement of the imported goods" as the FBR had received intelligence that Bol was using illegal equipment.[13] on 5 June 2015, Ayesha Sheikh, the wife of Bol CEO Shoib Sheikh was indicted on charges of money laundering in connected with Axact and Bol.[18]

Resignation of media personnel

Bol was aggressive in recruiting media personnel when the network was in development. However, when it came to light that the network was being run through illegal means and was part of a scam they were quick to leave. While Kamran Khan tweeted that his conscience would not let him continue, Iftikhar Ahmad wrote “cannot work for an organisation whose basic workings conflict with my professional commitment.” Asma Shirazi resigned and posted on Twitter, “I have resigned from Bol News. Truth must prevail.” [19][20][21][22]

Post Axact Scandal Acquisition

After the suspension of the BOL Network and BOL News there was a mass exodus of journalists and other media personnel from the company.[23] However ARY Digital Network CEO Salman Iqbal offered to take over the beleaguered company in August 2015. He stated that the decision had been taken in view to provide career protection to media industry and its workers.[24] The founder of ARY Group said that his media group would launch the transmission of the channel within three weeks.[25] On September 30, 2015, it was announced that the deal between the owners of BOL and ARY Digital Network had fallen through.[26]

Denial of access to Axact databases and offices

Both Bol and Axact have been petitioning to be granted access to databases maintained by Axact. However FIA declined to allow them access. On 12 April 2016 the Supreme court of Pakistan rejected the plea entered by Bol and Axact administration which requested that they be granted access to their databases and offices. The three judges of the bench observed that such access will not be provided until the investigation into the diploma mill scams, forgery and other allegations has been completed.[27]

Inter-Services Intelligence connection

On October 15, 2013, the Hindustan Times reported that the entry of BOL media electronic player was backed by the ISI, which sparked controversy.[28] Later a corrigendum (an error in a printed work discovered after printing and shown with its correction on a separate sheet) was issued by Hindustan Times.[29][30]

Ishaq Dar sent legal notice to BOL for airing program to defame him.[31]

See also


  1. "Shoaib Shaikh - BOL Leadership".
  2. "BOL Network boss promises biggest ever corporate launch".
  3. Talal, Syed. "ARY Quits BOL Network Takeover". Prop Pakistani.
  4. Declan Walsh (May 17, 2015). "Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions". The New York Times.
  5. "Kamran Khan quits Axact's BOL Network | SAMAA TV". Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  6. "Big Names in Pakistani Media Making the Move to BOL TV". ZemTV.
  7. "BOL Network announces free lifeinsurance of up to Rs. 1 crore to cable operators across Pakistan - Pakistan Tribe". Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  8. "BOL Family Program providing Rozgar upgrading Public Transport: Simply CSR or Brilliant Marketing Strategy?". Media Watch 360.
  9. "BOL Group Introduces Its Very Own TV brand – BG!". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  10. "BOL Builds State-of-the-art Infrastructure in Pakistan". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  11. "BOL Launches World Class DSNG Vans". 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  12. "'Fake degrees mill' FIA raids Axact offices - The Express Tribune". 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  13. "Equipment at Bol TV 'imported illegally' - The Express Tribune". 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  14. "LIVE UPDATES: Dozens of Axact employees detained for questioning after FIA raids in Karachi & Islamabad — 2 main servers to be shut down". ARY News. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  15. "BOL staff observes 'Youm-E-Zulm' today on 27th May | The News Teller". Retrieved 2016-08-23.
  16. Imtiaz Ali. "FIR registered against Axact CEO, six others in fake degree scam". Dawn. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  17. "Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh arrested". Dunya News. May 27, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  18. "Axct Scandal: FIA likely to arrest Shoaib Sheikh's wife". thenewstribe. thenewstribe.
  19. Imtiaz, Saba (2015-05-23). "Pakistani Journalists Resign to Cut Ties to Axact, a Fake Diploma Company". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  20. "Kamran Khan Azhar Abbas other senior journalists quit Bol".
  21. "Exodus in the making: Senior journalists quit Bol TV as Axact controversy deepens - The Express Tribune". 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  22. "Kamran Khan on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  23. "Exodus in the making: Senior journalists quit Bol TV as Axact controversy deepens - The Express Tribune". 2015-05-24. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  24. "ARY CEO and Founder Salman Iqbal takes over BOL Network management — says BOL will be launched in three weeks". ARY SERVICES LTD UK. August 19, 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  25. "ARY announces Bol TV takeover". Web Desk. The Express Tribune News Network. August 18, 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  26. "Twitter Status". Twitter.
  27. "Axact investigation: SC rejects Bol's request to access data - The Express Tribune". 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  28. "Hindustan Times e-Paper".
  29. "Indian campaign on ISI exposed". The Express Tribune.
  30. "A clarification".
  31. "Ishaq Dar Sends Legal Notice to Bol TV & Dr. Shahid Masood". January 30, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
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