3 years on, Afghan channels still banned in Pakistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): Pakistan is yet to lift ban it imposed on relay of programmes of popular Afghan television channels by cable operators three years ago. However, Pakistani TV channels can be watched throughout Afghanistan.
On the sidelines of a meeting with a delegation of Afghan journalists in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, Cultural Attaché at the Afghan Embassy, Abdul Rahman Habibzoi, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had time and again discussed with Pakistani officials the ban on Afghan TV channels.
“Several times during the past one and a half years, we have tried to obtain permission for Afghan TV channels’ broadcasts, but in vain,” he said.
Habibzoi said they had formally requested the Pakistani government repeatedly to lift the ban, but there had been no positive response.
He said Pakistan had demanded 1.2 million rupees in return for Afghan channels to be watched in the country while all Pakistani channels were viewed in Afghanistan without such charges.
He said the ban in Pakistan on Afghan TV channels was a serious issue because it deprived hundreds of thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan from watching their country’s programmes.
“Afghans living here want to be aware of the political, security and economic developments taking place in their country through their own channels.”
Habibzoi said they would continue to persuade the Pakistani government to allow the Afghan channels to air their programmes.
Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture spokesman Haroon Hakimi also confirmed the ban on Afghan TV channels in Pakistan, saying they had been trying to develop coordination between Afghan and Pakistani media organizations, but the effort appeared to be one-sided.
He said his ministry was following the issue of ban with Pakistan authorities and warned of a tit-for-tat response if Islamabad did not allow the Afghan channels to air their programmes in that country.
Hakimi promised to take up the issue with the Afghan Investigation Commission of Media Violations.
Counselor to the Afghan Embassy Abdul Nasir Yousafi said the embassy had many times formally shared with the ban on Afghan channels with the Pakistan authorities.
He said Pakistan had also blocked the Afghan SIMs roaming and Afghans visiting Pakistan could not use Afghan SIMs.
In Kabul, Telecommunications Ministry spokesman Mohammad Yasin said he heard it for the first time that Pakistan had blocked roaming on Afghan SIMs.
He said if it was true, the issue would be resolved through diplomatic channels.
However, there is no ban on the Pakistani SIMs roaming in Afghanistan.
An Afghan refugee in Peshawar, Azizullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Pakistani media, particularly TV channels, always aired anti-Afghanistan government programmes.
He said such programmes had negative impact on the minds of Afghans living in Pakistan and it was necessary that the Afghan channels should be allowed to air their programmes in Pakistan.
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