PESHAWAR: The Radio Pakistan Peshawar has kept alive the torch of information, education and infotainment services despite violent mob attacks and continued programs for its millions of listeners since 1935 to date.
The national broadcaster continued to serve as an academy for young artists, musicians and writers even in the difficult circumstances after ransacking and putting on fire by its four-storey building, equipment, computers, digital and official record by the rioters on May 9-10, 2023.
Associated Press of Pakistan’s office located on its 4th floor was also destroyed in the mob attack.
“Radio Pakistan is not only a government institution but also served as an academy for young writers, musicians, artists, newsmen and script writers since 1935 till date. It kept alive the rich tradition in spite of the recent mob assaults, which badly damaged the historic building,” Ikramullah Marwat, senior program manager, Radio Pakistan Peshawar told APP on Sunday.
He said, “We were able to resume its transmission within 24 hours after the assault, and continued providing services to its millions of listeners even in the challenging time.”
Marwat said that resumption of transmission was a big challenge following its ransacking/burning. However, due to collective efforts and dedication of the staff, they were able to restart transmission within 24 hours.
Its popular programs including ‘Karwan, Prime Time’ (both Urdu and Pashto) and ‘Rang Peshawar’ (Hindko) had been resumed and listeners had strongly condemned the attacks, he added.
Similarly, he said ‘Kar Kela’ program started for farmers in 1967 and ‘hindara’ (Pshto current affairs program) launched in 1979 were also restarted.
Marwat said that millions of people had listened hindara program in 1980s due to an excellent scripts, contents, objectivity and dialogue delivery of renowned compares, Inayatulllah Gul and Taj Nabi.
Being voice of the nation, he said the national broadcaster was attacked in a bid to stop it from spreading the truth.
Through such attacks, Marwat said the national broadcaster could not be stopped from professional duties.
He said Radio Pakistan had professionally highlighted regional and international issues including earthquake, floods, Afghans refugees and other socioeconomic issues in a professional, polite and decent language besides encouraging new talents to adopt performing art as profession.
Cinema and TV legends like Muhammad Qavi Khan, Firdus Jamal, Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Najeebullah Anjum, Ismail Shahid, Abdullah Jan Magmoom and many others started career from Radio Pakistan, Peshawar that later proved their professional capabilities at national level, thus earned great name for Pakistan.
Ghazal mestro, Khayal Muhammad, Ahmad Khan, Mashooq Sultan, Inayatulllah Gul, Zarsanga, Mahjabeen Qazalbash, Nazia Iqbal, Gulzar Alam, Shakeela Naz and others had ruled on music industry under the patronage of Radio Pakistan, Peshawar.
Besides ghazals, poetry and literary work of Rehman Baba and Khushal Khan Khattak, Radio Pakistan Peshawar has also highlighted the work of Hamza Khan Shinwari, Ajmal Khattak, Prodessor Taha Khan, Patras Bukhari, Khatar Ghaznavi, Zeetoon Banu, Rehmat Shah Sail, Ghazi Sial, Muhammad Azam Azam and other poets effectively.
Similarly, famous writers Muhammad Azam Azam, Samandar Khan Samandar, Hamayun Huma and others hands written dramas aired through Radio Pakistan Peshawar and PTV had earned fame.
The mob had also put on fire/stolen the tape records converted on computers and hands written dramas of the renowned writers and musicians.
“Radio Pakistan promotes patriotism, love peace and tolerance in society and discouraged hate, negativity and intolerance in their programs,” he said.
Recalling the May 9 tragedy, he said the violent mob had first ransacked Chaghi mountains model constructed in its premises in memory of the nuclear explosions of May 28, 1998 and later put on fire the entire Radio Pakistan Peshawar building on May 10 after destroying the vehicles of the officials of PBC and APP.
After breaking its fences and main gate, he said the rioters put on fire chairs at Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum auditorium having the capacity of 350 people after terrorizing its employees and damaged it badly.
Besides stealing computers and other valuable, the mob also looted awards, destroyed digital records and set on fire three officials vehicles parked in the building.
The tall flames and black smoke of the building was seen from all areas of Peshawar City. Later, the people were allowed to visit the burnt building last week to witness the vandalism, Marwat informed.
Radio Pakistan, Peshawar has started its transmission from a single room in Civil Secretariat on March 6, 1935 after a radio inventor, Markoni had gifted a transmitter with 30 radio sets to Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum during the latter’s visit for a roundtable conference at London.
The radio sets were later distributed among women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who installed it in guest rooms where people gathered to listen different radio programs and deliberated on regional and international issues.
Later, the transmitter was shifted to the broadcasting house on July 16, 1942 where currently supreme court’s registry was established on Khyber Road.
The Radio Pakistan Peshawar was later shifted to the existing four-storey building in 1985 comprising Abdul Qayyum Khan auditorium, six studios including 101 FM station established in 2002.
One each studio was reserved for music, drama, feature/documentary, talk-1 and talk-2 besides news section on ground floor, administration block on first floor and program/library section on its third floor.
On its forth floor, APP office was established that was also set ablaze by the violent mob. The English, Urdu news rooms, IT, VNS and accounts sections of APP were also badly damaged/destroyed.
Marwat said although radio archives remained safe but tape records that were put on computers were either damaged or taken away by the mob.
He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali and caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan, Prime Minister Adviser for Political and Public Affairs and National Heritage, Engr Amir Muqam and Corps Commander Peshawar, ANP spokesman Samar Bilour also visited the burnt Radio Pakistan and expressed solidarity with employees of Radio Pakistan Peshawar and Associated Press of Pakistan.
They assured every possible assistance and cooperation to the employees of both the organizations.