PESHAWAR: By attacking Radio Pakistan’s building on May 10, the miscreants have deprived millions of listeners of the rare famous Pashto and Urdu songs of the renowned musicians and singers besides destroying handwritten dramas scripts authored by famous writers.
Besides destruction of official records and equipment, the original hand written famous dramas scripts authored by renowned writers and famous Pashto and Urdu songs disks songs sung by Ghazal mestro Ahmad Khan, Khyal Muhammad, Mashooq Sultan and Rafique Shinwari were also burnt to ashes during violent mob attack on the national broadcaster on May 10.
Habibun Nabi, Program Manager, Radio Pakistan Peshawar told APP on Tuesday that the original rare handwritten Pashto and Urdu dramas’ scripts authored by famous writers Hamaza Khan Shinwari, Dr Muhammad Azam Azam, Younas Qayasi, , Arbab Abdul Wakeel, Hamayun Huma, Sahir Afridi, Begium AR Daud, Zaitoon Bannu and Syed Rasool Rasa were destroyed by the rioters. He said scripts of hundreds of rare dramas along with catalogs and books on different topics were also put on fire by violent mobs after they burnt the Radio Pakistan’s central library located on its third floor with piles of ashes scattered all around the building.
Besides around 1500-2000 historic books, the masterpiece literary books of the renowned Sufi Poet Rehman Baba and freedom fighter Khushal Khan Khattak were also torched. Habibun Nabi said the rare picture of renowned broadcasters Abdul Jan Magmoom and Aftab Ahmed, who announced Pakistan’s independence day at midnight of August 13-14, 1947 in Pashto and Urdu besides Qari Muhammad, who recited Holy Quran respectively, was no more. Similarly, the performance pictures of Ghazal mestros and dramas writers including Hamaza Khan Shinwari, Ajmal Khattak, Khatar Gaznvai, Samandar Khan Samandar, Qalandar Mohmand, Mumtaz Ali Shah, Shahzad Khan Johar and Abdullah Jan Magmom alias Marchakay were set ablaze.
Radio Pakistan had started its transmission from a room at civil secretariat Peshawar in 1935 after the first radio transmitter gifted by Radio inventor Markoni to Sir Shabzada Abdul Qayyum Khan during the latter London was installed here. Later, Radio Pakistan was shifted to the old Radio Pakistan’s building (now Supreme Court registry) on Khyber Road in 1942.
The national broadcaster was later shifted to the existing building after it was inaugurated by the former President General Zaiul Haq in 1985. Tufail Muhammad, program manager Radio Pakistan said that historic performance pictures of great Pashto singers, Ahmad Khan, pride of performance Mashooq Sultan, musician/singer Rafique Shinwari, pride of performance Khayal Muhammad and Fazl Rabi were also purnt to ashes by the mob whom have no regard for culture and humanity.
Besides dramas and literary works, he said rare feature documentaries on national and international issues besides human interest stories, religious books and national songs that were converted from conventional taps to computers for digitalizations were also severely damaged. “Radio Pakistan is the custodian of our cultural heritage. Attack on this historic building was tantamount to an assault on our national heritage, culture, dramas and music,” said Ghazal maestro and pride of performance, Khyal Muhammad while talking to APP.
Associated with Radio Pakistan for several decades, Khyal Muhammad said that resuming of transmissions of Radio Pakistan Peshawar within hours after the attack showed the hard work, dedication and professional commitment of its officers and employees besides passed a strong message that the national broadcaster’s voice could not be silenced through such terror incidents. Tufail Ahmad, program manager PBC told APP that after the attack, the Radio Pakistan Peshawar’s transmissions were resumed from four transmission lines including 1260 Khz, 24 hours from FM 101, Soratul Quran and News- Current Affairs within few hours on emergency basis and was smoothly continued providing quality entertainment, information and education services.
Amin Mashall, a newscaster in a private TV channel who is also associated with Radio Pakistan Peshawar since 2012 said that the attack on Radio Pakistan Peshawar and APP Office was an attempt to silence the media and deprive people from information. He said ransacking and burning of the vehicle of Radio Pakistan and APP’s employees was an attempt to terrorize journalists and stop them from their professional duties.
He said that Radio Pakistan’s building was set on fire during PTI’s workers protest demonstrations and it was unfortunate that not a single leader of PTI had visited the national broadcaster to express sympathies with its employees. He said Radio Pakistan was the voice of the nation and demanded for its immediate reconstruction in its original shape. Tufail Khan said that disks containing pre-partition Pashto and Urdu songs of 1901-1947 were saved, however disks of digitalized songs were destroyed due to burning of computers. Similarly, the voice record disks of the religious scholars including renowned Maulana Saeeduddin Sherkoi were also destroyed.
Meanwhile, the Radio Pakistan’s administration has opened the burnt Radio Pakistan Peshawar for general public, students and youth to show the scale of devastation and would continue to open for the public till upcoming Friday. Except for a few rooms of its basement and studios, the entire building was ransacked and burnt down with piles of black ashes in almost all rooms of the four storey building.
The students and civil society are coming to the burnt Radio Pakistan’s building and condemning the attack on it. “The devastation to this historic building was beyond of my imagination, highly condemnable and culprits involved in it should be given exemplary punishment,” said Ehtisham Qaiser of Wapda Town Peshawar.
He said that bruning of Chaghi mountains model constructed in memory of May 28, 1998 explosions in its premises of PBC by the rioters was highly deplorable, saying it exposed the evil mind set of the anti state elements. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Chief Minister and Prime Minister’s adviser Engr Amir Muqam and others leadership have recently visited Radio Pakistan’s building and expressed solidarity with its employees. They assured full cooperation and support to Radio Pakistan administration. (APP)