Christian TV channel makes it through fire to resume transmission
Karachi: In a small, modest house in Akhtar Colony, a Christian-populated neighbourhood, Sadiq Daniel’s family regularly watches Gawahi TV that broadcasts Biblical teachings, prayers and local worship gatherings.
However, they were unable to do so for a few days because of a mysterious fire at the TV channel’s office – located near Saint Peter’s Church in same area – on November 24.
However, Daniel’s family is happy to see that Gawahi TV has resumed its transmission ahead of Christmas.
“It [Gawahi TV] is the only source in the city through which the Christian community can watch its religious programmes,” Daniel told The News.
The Gawahi TV administration said it had recommenced transmission but there were still problems because much of the channel’s equipment was destroyed in the “arson”.
Reverend Sarfaraz William, the CEO of Gawahi TV, said as the fire had raged for over 30 minutes, most of the equipment including computers, DVDs, editing system, thousands of copies of the Holy Bible and other valuable material were destroyed.
“The arson caused a loss of about Rs2.5 million,” he added.
To continue its broadcast, especially prayers and church services ahead of Christmas, the Gawahi TV’s administration has rented the required equipment.
“Christmas is a time of peace, brotherhood and love and that’s why we have rented equipment to resume our transmission for the celebrations,” William said.
“We are doing our God’s work and continue doing it with divine help.”
Gawahi TV is a Karachi-based 24/7 cable transmission that started in February 2013 in the city’s main Christian-populated neighbourhoods.
“With a significant Christian population in the city, the Gawahi TV’s viewership is estimated to be around 500,000,” William maintained.
However, he added that in some areas cable operators did not air the channel’s transmission citing several reasons.
William said he had worked hard to run a Christian TV channel. “We are planning to spread the transmission across the country and optimistic that God will help us in fulfilling our plans.”
Gawahi TV’s employees said the fire at their office was an arson attack and said they had been receiving threats to stop the transmission for the past several months.
“A group of people who have been trying to stop us and damage our network was involved in the attack and carried it out after much planning,” said one of the employees.
“We are also Pakistanis and have the right to spread our religious messages within our community,” he added,
The Gawahi TV management is satisfied with the police’s investigation and said they were cooperating with them.
William Sadiq, a leader of the Action Committee for Human Rights, a non-governmental rights body, is convinced that the blaze at Gawahi TV was an attack by militants who have been continuously threatening non-Muslim communities, especially Christians.
“It was clearly an act of religious intolerance and the perpetrators set the TV office on fire just month before Christmas,” he added.