Radio stations fill the chasm that governments failed to mend
ISLAMABAD, April 29 2006: Pakistani radio stations that are based in cities close to India are receiving a massive response from Indian listeners and have become another channel for bridging the social gap between the two countries.
‘We receive 10 to 15 emails from Indian listeners everyday, especially those in Indian-Occupied Kashmir,” IANS quoted Shahid Kazmi, the station manager of Radio Buraq Sialkot, who added that letters and telephone calls from India were also received in significant numbers. ‘Some of our programmes are really popular in India and people also make live calls to request for songs,” said Kazmi. He said that Radio Buraq’s ghazal programme was very popular, in which many phone calls were received from people who requested the ghazals of Noor Jehan, Mehdi Hassan and other Pakistani singers. Kazmi said that it was an exciting experience to work for a radio station that was heard by people in a supposedly Â‘hostile country’.
“We have never received any message, letter or phone call that contained a hostile comment. I am amazed at the way people send their greetings to our DJs and listeners in Pakistan,’ he said. Ali, an anchor working with FM-100 in Lahore, said that while on air, he had received a call from Karan Lal, who had migrated to India after the partition of the subcontinent in1947. Lal said that he wanted to send his greetings to his former neighbour, Wali Ahmed, in Lahore after which, Wali Ahmed’s son, Waqas, who was listening to the programme, called in.
He said that his father had died a couple of years ago, though he used to talk about Karan Lal and his family quite often,” Ali said, adding that Waqas had invited Karan Lal and his family to Lahore, to which Karan had not yet responded. “I am glad that my programme became a means of communication between two neighbours who haven’t met in years,” he said. ‘I hope for their reunion and will continue to convey Waqas’ message to Karan Lal until he responds,” he said.
‘Let the airwaves reach across and you will come to know about many pleasant incidents,” said Adnan Rehmat, the country director of Internews, an international body that works for free media. ‘Airwaves have no geographical boundaries and are the best mode of people-to-people contact,” said Rehmat. “People on both sides of the line share the same language and culture. I believe that the exchange can convert hostility into friendship and we are striving for just that,” he said. Internews provided technical and material help to FM radio stations all over Pakistan, including the October 8 earthquake-affected areas, where the government allowed emergency FM stations to provide information to quake survivors.
“We are receiving a marvellous response from radio stations in NWFP and Azad Kashmir. Their programmes have helped greatly in providing timely information to survivors,” said Rehmat.
Source: Daily Times