Picture showing PTV Channel and its relation with Pakistanis
PTV was a binding force for Pakistani nation

For almost 35 years, from 1964-65 to 2000, Pakistan had only one television channel, PTV, and it is very easy to understand the emotional attachment of Pakistanis with this channel. It was founded on 26 November 1964 and soon after its foundation, PTV attracted the nation towards it and became a binding force for the nation.

Pakistan had to fight a war with India in 1965, just one year after PTV came into being, and this incident brought PTV more closer to the people. PTV played its role during war and kept the morale of army and public high through its patriotic transmissions. Many songs created during the war are still remembered. The incident also provided basis for PTV to become the channel of the nation.

Pakistan was on its way to development as a newly born state and was only 18 years old. Newspapers were main source of information. All India Radio stations were now Radio Pakistan and radio has its own story. When television was launched, radio provided it base and support. Many of the staffs and artists were taken from the radio. 

Many Pakistanis call PTV their first love. When we get older, we become nostalgic and love to recall the past. But relation between Pakistanis and PTV is not nostalgia only. It has grounds and and strong reasons. PTV helped shaping this nation and it was like a friend and family member. It was a national pride and had nations’s feelings attached with it. For a long time, PTV represented and presented real life of the people. It somehow safeguarded norms and values and took care of religious and cultural emotions.

The life was not that technological and fast as it has become today. A time, when there was no computer and mobile and no other channel, PTV had the vast viewership. So it was forced to act according to the will of people. When we hand over any system to private sector in the name of freedom and competition, we lose the values of the system. An example of this theory is our educational system. When private institutions were not there, we had an equal system which was owned by people and vision, culture, language or curriculum were not facing bigger challenges. But when we started having private educational institutions, today education has become a business. It is producing degrees but not knowledge. We have lost the values control. Similarly, when there was only one PTV channel, and we had no so called freedom and competition, the channel had values and traditions which were somehow owned by the people. 

Sometimes it feels like there was some conspiracy against PTV and it was some planned effort to snatch PTV from the people of Pakistan. In a broader sense, it is a reality. But in fact it was unavoidable. The globalization forced nations to accept its conditions and things had to change. But yes it was a conspiracy, even if not planned, to completely destroy a great valuable national television channel with all its status and traditions. We could preserve PTV, what it was, while even bringing dozens of private channels.

The relation between Pakistanis and PTV is so strong that even today they dream to see PTV once again on some standings of the past. It does not mean that they want to go in past, but it means that they want to see this channel in its real shape. Even after long years of free media, PTV is given a silent love by millions of Pakistanis. Thousands of Pakistanis search for old PTV dramas on Youtube daily. There are hundreds of pages and groups on Facebook highlighting the past content of PTV. People are writing books, blogs and articles to record and share memories of the gone days of PTV. People have saved CD’s and DVD’s of old dramas at home. You can find people who cry watching the old dramas. Everybody has his or her special affiliation with specific old time dramas, shows, actors, singers or writers PTV had produced. If you ask a 40 years old person to tell at least 10 stars of new media, it will become a challenge for him. But ask him to tell 10 old time stars of PTV, he will easily be able to share the names. PTV has died, but its past is still alive in the hearts and minds.

Many Pakistanis don’t know that when they pay their electricity bill, they mandatory pay an amount like a tax, which goes to PTV. It was made part of electricity bill years ago to help PTV finances. But Pakistanis are never asked about their feelings for this institution. The modesty and simplicity of PTV was killed by the authorities and no one is raising voice to at least have review of what has been done. A strong bond of the nation has been thrown away. 

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