Pakistan to launch Pashto TV channel to counter Taliban

Islamabad: Pakistan will launch a Pashto-language TV channel to counter Taliban propaganda, an official said.

Pakistan Television (PTV) will start Abaseen TV channel at the end of this year, but a sum of nearly Rs.400 million will have to be spent in excess of the original estimate.

“The cost of the new channel will go up from Rs.160 million estimated in 2006 to Rs.550 million now,” Dawn quoted an official as saying.

Last year, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had written to Islamabad to start the channel. They were concerned that militants were able to convey their messages on private satellite channels while the provincial government failed to match the Taliban propaganda in the absence of its own Pashto TV channel.

The TV channel project will be put up for approval to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

“Given the interest of both federal and the provincial governments, it is expected the channel will be on air towards the end of this year,” said officials.

Hifzul Haq Kakakhel, a senior official of PTV Peshawar, said: “Yes, we are prepared to start the channel….”

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