Tribesmen listen to radio in Mohmand district. - Photo by Gul Muhammad Mohmand

RAWALPINDI: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Information Minister Shoukat Yousafzai has said that the provincial government is working on a robust and comprehensive communication strategies to reach out to the local population.

“All Radio stations in the province will be made a good use of not only to entertain and educate the exhausted masses but also keep them informed about the developmental projects and steps being taken for their wellbeing”, this he said during a meeting with Director General ISPR Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor here at Islamabad on Tuesday.

The provincial government has no proper communication strategy for the province as well as the recently merged tribal areas in order to engage local people in the sustaible development of the region. The provincial government runs five radio stations in the province which often are used for government publicity and propaganda and providing huge quantity of music just to please their audience rather than addressing the information need of war affected populations.

On the other hand the ISPR is also running Suno radio network for tribal areas which aims to engage tribal people in peace building and local development. However, this too provides music disproportionally and carry one sided news on social and political developments in the region.

This network hardly criticize security establishment and government for their wrong doings and always present a rosy picture to local people of ex-FATA who are annoyed by poor governance system. As a result, local people don’t trust government run radio stations because of their one sided agenda and turn to US funded radio stations like Mashal and Deewa to get critical political and social news about their region.

Experts say that for strategic communications, the government and security establishment should open media channels in erstwhile FATA that could provide reliable, unbiased and balanced news and information to the local people. They say that only entertainment or one sided government propaganda channels cannot counter foreign radio and media houses.

During the meeting DG ISPR and Minister Shoukat Yousafzai discussed developmental projects and peace process in the newly merged districts and it was agreed upon that developmental work will be expedited in the region so that the local population can be benefitted.

On this occasion, the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan was termed as a good omen for the province and the newly merged districts in particular as peace in Afghanistan would certainly have positive impact on the adjacent areas.

They hoped that peace in the region will create job opportunities for the people of erstwhile FATA. They while lauding the sacrifices of tribal people for the restoration of peace, reaffirmed that concrete efforts would be made to bring the people of erstwhile FATA in the mainstream. Meanwhile, the minister also visited various sections of the media in the ISPR office.