Protest against campaign to close down FM stations
LANDI KOTAL, April 04,2005: Hundreds of Malikdinkhel tribesmen held a demonstration at Qambar Abad, near Bara Bazaar, on Sunday in protest against the Khyber Agency political administration’s campaign against FM radio stations in the area.
The Bara political administration on March 27 issued a notice to the Malikdinkhel tribesmen to immediately stop transmissions from their FM radio station and to hand over the equipment to the authorities concerned. The notice was served to the Malikdinkhel elders who were invited to witness the passing-out parade of the third batch of the Khasadar force at Fort Salop, near Bara.
The protest rally was addressed by Mufti Munir Shakir along with some elders, local politicians and religious figures. The speakers strongly condemned the administration’s move against the FM radio stations. They insisted that only religious programmes were being aired from the station.
They alleged that on the one hand the government had issued licenses to cable operators in all the major cities of the country, while on the other hand it was forcibly closing down the FM stations, which, they claimed, were extremely popular among the local population for its religious teachings.
At least five FM radio stations were in operation in different localities of Bara till February but except for the Malikdinkhel radio station, the rest had stopped their transmissions after they were asked by the Bara administration to do so.
The Malikdinkhel FM station is managed and run by Mufti Munir Shakir, a religious leader from Kurram Agency. The Mufti was expelled from Kurram Agency for his extreme views against the Shia community sometime back.
Sources in Bara told this correspondent that the Malikdinkhels would be allowed by the political administration to use their territory for smuggling of foreign goods to Bara if they hand over their FM station to the authorities concerned.
The sources said that the Malikdinkhel route was being used for smuggling since last week and that at least 300 trucks loaded with smuggled foreign goods were reaching Bara god owns on a daily basis.