It was founded in 1941 by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. The paper was created to counter anti-Muslim "propaganda" being published by the Hindu Newspaper press. The newspaper has offices in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, as well as representatives abroad As of 2004, it has a weekday circulation of over 138,000. The CEO of Dawn group is Hameed Haroon, and the current editor of Dawn is Abbas Nasir.
"The Dawn will mirror faithfully the views of India's Muslims and the All India Muslim League in all its activities: economic, educational and social and more particularly political, throughout the country fearlessly and independently and while its policy will be, no doubt, mainly to advocate and champion the cause of the Muslims and the policy and programme of the All India Muslim League, it will not neglect the cause and welfare of the peoples of this sub-continent generally".
Dawn became a daily newspaper in October 1942 under the leadership of its first editor, Pothan Joseph. In 1944 Altaf Husain took over as the editor and brought nation wide fame to its daily circulation. After the creation of Pakistan, Altaf Husain moved the newspaper to Karachi, the capital of the newly formed nation state,under the instruction of Mr.Jinnah, the owner of DAWN in Delhi which was then the official organ of the Pakistan Muslim League.Dawn reflected and espoused the cause of the Muslims of India.It was the sole voice of the Muslims in English language.Altaf Husain, its' editor galvanized the Muslims of India by his powerful inspiring and passionate editorials, which earned him wrath of the entire Hindu leadership of the Congress Party as well as Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy and Governor General of the British Raj.In early August 1947 some senior DAWN staff led by Mr.Altaf Husain arrived in Karachi to start the publication of DAWN from August 15, 1947. The day after Pakistan gained its independence. Mr. Yusuf Abdulla Haroon a close confidant of Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was given the task to facilitate the publication of DAWN. The offices of the newspaper was housed in the small premises on the commercially busy and a crowded narrow street then known as South Napier Road. These premises belonged to Mr. Haroon. He was at that time planning to bring out a newspaper called "The Herald". Instead at the bidding of Mr.Jinnah he agreed to publish DAWN at his facilities. DAWN grew strength to strength as a most out spoken publication under the editorship of Altaf Husain. He became a legend both at home and abroad for his fearless opposition to the tyranny and corrupt practices of politicians and military dictators after the independence of Pakistan.. He was forced by President General Ayub Khan to leave his newspaper job to become a cabinet minister in his government. So DAWN said goodbye to Mr. Altaf Husain in 1965. The street where Dawn was first published is now known as Altaf Husain Road. Since then DAWN has prospered and has moved to new and larger premises. DAWN still shines as an icon amongst many other newspapers that are being published today in Pakistan.
In Pakistan Dawn has in-paper magazines such as Sci-tech World, Young World, "Images", "Books & Authors" etc.
On Sundays, the weekend advertiser carries three sections namely "Ad Buzz", "Career" & "Real Estate".