Radio Pakistan’s workers protest against leasing out state-radio’s historic building

Islamabad: Workers of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) or Radio Pakistan on Monday took to the road against a government’s notification for leasing out the PBC building in order to generate funds.

The building they said represented the voice of Pakistan and aspirations of millions of Pakistanis and was of historic importance as former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto inaugurated it back in early 1970s.

The protest held in front of the Radio Pakistan’s main building was participated by not only the officers, staff and workers of the PBC but also by the retired employees, daily-wage workers and members of civil society.

According to them the PTI-government’s decision to lease out a building of historic importance would be tantamount to disrespecting an institute that was born simultaneously with the birth of Pakistan.

A former deputy controller of Radio Pakistan Safdar Hamdani was of the view that people of the subcontinent learnt about partition of India and birth of Pakistan through Radio Pakistan Lahore in 1947.

Radio Pakistan has been quite instrumental in infusing spirit of patriotism and Ideology of Pakistan among the masses, he said.

Another senior broadcaster and former Controller of Radio Pakistan Islamabad Mehmood Riazuddin also termed the PTI-government’s decision to lease out the Islamabad station’s building unfortunate.

At present more than 1,500 staffers are working in the Islamabad station of Radio Pakistan, he said.

A large number of others working in different shifts on daily wages and contract basis are besides the regular staffers, said Riazuddin.

Referring to Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry’s statement that Radio Pakistan’s present building was quite huge and unnecessary, Mehmood Riazuddin said the building was home to not only a broadcasting house but it was also a of publishing house.

Here offices of Radio Pakistan’s monthly Urdu newsletter “Ahang,” English journal “Pakistan Calling” and BBC newsletters are also set up, he said.

It is because of Radio Pakistan’s news and analytical programmes that the former president Ziaul Haq was compelled to say that he won support of 146 countries of the world on the Afghan Issue because of the Radio Pakistan’s current affairs programmes, features and comments.

Mehmood Riazuddin also said that at Radio Pakistan Islamabad building a Master Control Room (MCR) is set up that links the Islamabad headquarters with all the other stations during the address of the President or the Prime Minister to the nation.

Questioning the federal government’s decision of accommodating hundreds of employees of Radio Pakistan to the Broadcasting Academy a much smaller building, Safdar Hamdani said half of the Broadcasting Academy building was already leased out to some educational institute. In the rest of the building China-Pakistan joint radio channel Dosti’s transmission is already working.

It would not be easy to shift the huge infrastructure, machinery and instruments of the radio Pakistan Islamabad station to that academy, said Hamdani.

Employees of the Radio Pakistan also condemned the decision of the government saying PTI had vocally criticised the previous government of PML-N for ‘selling’ the state institutes and offices and now its government itself is doing the same.

They vowed to resist the government’s decision and continue their protest unless the notification for leasing out the radio Pakistan is withdrawn.


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