Making Radio Pakistan viable
THIS is with reference to your editorial ‘PBC in dire straits’ (Feb 26) and subsequent letters of readers (March 2 and 11).
It was radio that made the first-ever announcement of the birth of our country on the night of Aug 14, 1947, at midnight in the voice of Zahoor Azar: “At the stroke of 12 midnight the independent sovereign state of Pakistan will come into existence.”
At 12 midnight, instead of ‘All India Radio’, it was announced: ‘This is Pakistan Broadcasting Service, Lahore…’
Only after a couple of months the call sign was changed to ‘Radio Pakistan’. This singular contribution of Radio Pakistan must not be forgotten.
Oh, lest we forget. It was only this medium that kept the spirit of the nation alive and vibrating in the war of 1965 when Radio Pakistan earned laurels of being called the ‘second line of defense for the country’.
Ever green songs of Melody Queen Madame Noor Jehan and Shahanshah-i-Ghazal Mehdi Hassan and many more prominent vocalists were recorded and broadcast during 17 days of the war with India that encouraged our soldiers on the battlefield to fight more valiantly than ever.
These soul-stirring renditions resuscitate our prostrate generation to life and vivaciousness even now. We should not erase out this unforgettable service of Radio Pakistan from our memories.
The most noteworthy contribution of this medium is still fresh in the memories of those who were adversely affected by the worst ever Ojhri Camp incident of 1988 or the devastating earthquake of 2005.
Owing to electricity breakdown for several days, people were glued to the broadcasts of Radio Pakistan to know the well-being of their near and dear ones.
Had radio, as a medium, become redundant, the BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle (Germany), and NHK (Japan) would have become obsolete long ago; so, ignoring Radio Pakistan would be tantamount to ignoring vast populace of Pakistan whose favourite and convenient medium is still radio that is within their reach and according to their aspirations.
I would, therefore, earnestly request the authorities of the ministry of information and broadcasting and also the Prime Minister and the President that adequate funds be provided to the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation to pull it out of financial crisis and make it a viable medium.
If needed, the services of top-ranking professionals may also be hired so that this linchpin medium of the people must have broadcasters as its strength rather than high-sounding bureaucrats.