Extremists inflicting loss on cable operators
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PESHAWAR- Cutting of cable wires by the religious fanatics has become a big source of losses and embarrassment both for cable operators and their clients across the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), some cable operators and subscribers told sources.
“Despite the ban on the activities of extremist religious groups to prevent them from carrying out illegal activities like cutting of cable wires, burning of TV shops etc.; they continue to do the same without any fear of law or action by the law enforcing agencies,” said a cable operator of the Cantonment area.
“We have invested our hard-earned money in the installation of cable network to earn livelihood, but our clientele is decreasing day by day owing to this illegal practice and disruption in services”, he said.
Though some six cable operators in Peshawar have been voicing concerns over the cutting of cable wires the maniacs, all their complaints go down the drain and the practice still continues uncheck. This lacklustre response by the police have emboldened these so-called religious zealots, and now they disrupt the cable services with enhanced vigour.
Many people claimed that they had reported the illegal practice to the police, but their officials turned deaf ear to the complaints instead of taking action against the culprits.
A subscriber Abdul Ahad in the Canal Town area adjacent to Islamia College said that he had got installed the cable wire to his house for Rs5,000. ” But the cable operator of the area told me beforehand that an Islahi Committee headed by the Pesh Imam of Kausar Mosque, Canal Town, has banned the installation of cable in the whole town” , he said. The operator was afraid that lest the wires should be cut after the installation, Mr Ahad added.
And after three days of installation, he said, the committee cut the wires. When Mr Ahad reported the incidence to the University Town Police Station, the police expressed their inability to take action against the committee, and asked him to hush the matter, he said.
“Tell me, to whom should I lodge my complaint with ? I couldn’t fight on my own, because it is the job of the police to control such people committing illegal acts,” said the subscriber.
A cable operator told this scribe that he had invested Rs5 million in the cable network business in Peshawar, and paid Rs50,000 annual license fee to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. But, he said, he was facing heavy losses owing to the cutting of wires.
“We have complained to the police several time about the illegal practice, but to no avail. We are fast losing our clientele, because in such circumstances the people remain least interested in our services,” said another cable operator in of the city.
The cable operators, he said, had already suffered immense losses in the wake of a ban on the Indian channels which were in demand, thus lost around 50 per cent clients.
Some religious extremists, even following the ban on their activities, have established their own writ which describes installation of cable TV network, watching VCR and playing video games as a great sin. Many a times, they have set ablaze several TV and VCR sets, and beaten up the sellers of these items.
“They have set up their own government within the government, and become the self-proclaimed defenders of Islam”, a subscriber commented.