Civil society, literati censure PTV for airing programme ‘insulting’ to Pakhtuns
PESHAWAR: Poets, artists, political activists and members of civil society organisations staged a protest demonstration outside Peshawar Press Club on Monday to condemn the airing of a programme by the state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) seen as insulting to Pakhtuns.
The protest was headed by Awami National Party general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Pakhtunkhwa Olasi Tehreek convener Dr Said Alam Mehsud, Farooq Firaq, members of civil society and Sikh community and Pashto artists, poets and journalists.
Poets and writers, including Abaseen Yousufzai, Khaliqdad Umeed, Tariq Afghan and Sana Gulzar, also shared their views, criticizing the PTV for airing the programme.
The protesters were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the telecast of PTV Urdu comic programme “Hasna Mana Hai” (laughing is prohibited). They raised voice against the federal government, PTV managing director and the producer and host of the programme.
Talking to media persons, the participants said that the programme was presented on Eid by PTV Islamabad Centre which was disrespectful and insulting to Pakhtuns wherein host Jawad Hassan called them ‘terrorist, smuggler, and snuff eater’.
The demonstrators called for banning the programme immediately. They also demanded dismissal of MD PTV and the producer who allowed airing of such a derogatory programme which attempted to humiliate the Pashto speaking people without any reason.
The protesters said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and the law enforcement agencies should take prompt action against the performers and host of the programme. They said that the programme was presented to hurt Pakhtuns, adding that it was a recorded event and should have been edited.
They said that Pakhtuns had given matchless sacrifices for the country, but even then they did not get respect in the programmes presented on the state-run television. They called PTV as Punjab TV only.
They said that a poet in the mushaira had used derogatory words against Pakhtuns which had caused serious unrest among them. They said that presenting such substandard, derogatory and humiliating programmes on the state-run television was condemnable.
The participants warned that if their demands were not fulfilled they would give a call for protest demonstrations across the country.
Later, officials of PTV and PID visited the Peshawar Press Club where a group of elders from different walks of life also held a meeting with them and conveyed their resentment over airing of the insulting remarks by one Jawad Hassan against Pakhtuns during the Urdu mushaira programme.
The officials assured them that they would take up the issue with the high-ups of PTV. They told the jirga members that MD PTV had taken a serious notice of the negligence on part of the concerned producer and other related people and ordered holding an inquiry within three days.
Meanwhile, according to a statement issued in Peshawar, state minister for information Marriyum Aurangzeb while taking notice of telecast of the controversial programme has ordered probe into the matter and banned participation of the concerned poet in PTV programmes. Similarly, the federal secretary for information, who is also MD PTV, has also apologised to Pakhtuns and said that proper inquiry would be conducted into the matter.