Screen grab from Pashto dramas 'Yao Jahan' and 'Janan'
Screen grab from Pashto dramas 'Yao Jahan' and 'Janan'

Noted Pashto writers have resented cut in time for regional languages including Pashto on PTV, Peshawar centre, saying it would arouse public anger and create unrest among literary circles.

A meeting in this regard was held at Islamia College University here with Prof Abaseen Yousafzai in the chair to urge PTV high-ups to review their decision of reducing time for telecasting programmes in regional languages.

“Cut in time for Pashto will not be tolerated any longer because decision of PTV officials is against the public interest,” said the participants of the meeting. They demanded launching of a full-fledge Pashto TV channel on the pattern of Sindhi and Punjabi channels.

They said that Pashto literati would start a campaign against the PTV high -ups to force them to retract their decision. “It is a good thing that PTV Multan and Azad Kashmir channels have been set up but on the other hand cut in time for rest of regional languages including Pashto shows double standards on the on the part of PTV officials,” they added.

Prof Abaseen said that Pashto had no official TV channel and even time for the language had been reduced on several occasions. He said that Pashto programmes were being telecast on odd time from 1pm to 2pm to devalue its viewership. “Why this sheer injustice being meted out to Pashto. Why the authorities concerned cut time for Pashto, if they didn’t take their decision back, it would trigger public anger. The Pashto literary circles will be mobilised to protest against the anti-Pakhtun policies of PTV,” he added.

He said that being a national institution, PTV was earning millions on commercials and still a lame excuse was made for cut in time for regional languages. He said that PTV was committed to boost local cultures and regional languages and highlight public issues but instead of giving maximum time to regional programmes, the unwise officials harmed national unity.

“If PTV officials are unable to increase time for Pashto programmes why are they bent upon snatching the time allocated for it. This attitude not only creates unrest among the general public but also triggers a national divide which I believe is a disservice to the country at large,” said Prof Abaseen.

Senior writer Noorul Amin Yousafzai said that not only time for Pashto programmes on PTV, Peshawar centre was reduced but time was also cut down for Pashto shows on Saturday and Monday.

Ayaz Abshaar, Prof Zar Mohammad Sangar, Prof Zaryab Yousafzai, Shahab Aziz Arman and Sajjad Juwandoon also spoke on the occasion.

Originally published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018