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Pashto media

Pashto media comprises Pashto literature, Pashto newspapers, Pashto magazines, Pashto television, Pashto radio, Pashto film and Pashto internet.

Early Pashto poetry

Pashto is not only the name of a language, but it comprises all traditions, norms and values of the Pashtun people. As for history of Pashto language is concerned, it comprises thousands of years, but we can find the proper written Pashto poetry in 139 Hijri. However, it does not mean that before this there was no poetry. Poetry existed, but not in a proper written form. Poets usually did poetry orally and then they and their followers and fans memorized the work. For a generation or two their work used to be remained in minds of people and afterwards it would slowly raze of the people’s minds. Its main reasons, first, is that many of the Pashtuns at that time were nomads, second, virtually all the Pashtoon territory was under war for many years as even Alexander was to grapple here for three years. Due to these and many other reasons Pashto language was used only for the purpose of communication and no such literary work existed at that time. But oral Pashto poetry was there even before 139 Hijri.

Beginning of written poetry: The formal writing of Pashto poetry started from the poem written by Hakim Amir Crore of Ghor, Afghanistan in 139 Hijri. This poem was included and hence saved in one of the first books of Pashto, Pata Khazana. Amir Crore belonged to the Suri tribe and he was the son of Amir Polad. Soori tribe was the royal tribe of Ghor, Afghanistan. His poem was a pure Pashto poem and mature as well. That’s why we can say at that time Pashto poetry had passed through an evolutionary phase. Abu Muhammad Hashim Sarwani was another poet of that period. He was born at Helmand in 223 Hijri. He was the student of Ullema of Basat. It is also said that he was the student of popular Arabic writer, Ibn-e-Khalid. Hashim Sarwani also translated some Arabic poems in Pashto as well. Sarwani’s work also came under light through the book, Pata Khazana. He also wrote a book, SaloVagma, meaning ‘deserted breeze’ on the eloquence of Arabic verses. After Abu Muhammad Hashim Sarwani, Sheikh Razi is another poet whose work is saved in the book, Pata Khazana. He belonged to the Lodhi tribe of Pashtuns. Similarly we have many poets in the first phase of Pashto poetry. For instance; Amir Nasir Lodhi, Beat Neeka, Ismail ster bani (son of Beat Neeka), Kharshaboon (cousin of Ismail ster bani), Sheikh Asad Soori and so on.!

Pashto prose

Intellectual, scholars and critics divide Pashto literature into two parts, i.e. poetry and prose. The matter of fact is that Pashto literature mostly consists of poetic expressions. Historical collection indicates that primeval Pashto literature was basically in poetic form. Poetic literature like Amir Crore Nazam and Sheikh Mati Munajat were all in poetic form. Prose found its place in Pashto literature very late. The reason is that poetry is a far common and effective genre for translating and expressing one’s feeling into it and conveying the same to others. However prose vis-à-vis poetry appeals to a very selective mind and heart. Now the question arises as to when prose writing came into vogue in Pashto literature. There are various profound claims and arguments regarding the origin of prose in Pashto literature like it having been originated as back as 223 HIJRI in the form of translation of Arabic verses in book titled ‘SaloVagma’ (Deserted Breeze). Since the book is not vogue and the idea is based on mere assumption, it cannot be taken as authentic. Similarly, another book Tazkiratul Aulia, written by Suleman Makoo in 612 Hijri, is said to be the first recognized book in Pashto. The book contains descriptions of major Aulia, like Shiekh Malkair (R.A), Shiekh Ismial (R.A) and Sheikh Bakhtiar (R.A). The complete book is not in existence but a part of it is available. However, the oldest complete prose book in Pashto that is still in existence today is Khairul Bayan. After that we come across Akhund Darvez’s book title Makhzanul Islam and various other books written in the 9th and 10th centuries by Babu Jan, Mlamast Zamand, Allah Yar, and Akhun Qasim. But all these books were in prose-verse as they contained difficult words and rhetorical expressions and poetic rhythms as well. After that comes the era of the great Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak, who along with his family has made a remarkable contribution to Pashto prose writing. His sons, one of his daughters, Haleema Khatak and his grandchildren (Khushaal Khan Khatak’s) contributed to Pashto prose in an especially unique way. It was this period when prose was written in clear, short and easy to follow and comprehensible form. Then comes the period of some of the greatest prose writers Saleh Mohammad, Ghulam Mohyuddin Afghan, Zamarley, Maulvi Mir Ahmed Shah, and Abdul Rauf Qaney further contributed to the cause of Pashto prose in Afghanistan. To conclude, Pashto expressions far more exceeds prose collections in Pashto literature as prose needs special attention on the part of intellectuals and critics and as this very form of expression is less developed in prose vis-à-vis poetry.

Pashto Academy and Pashto literature

The Pashto Academy was established in 1955 in the capital city of NWFP. The founder of the academy was Maulana Abdul Qadir who since his student-life was very concerned about the future of Pashto language. He was a scholar in Arabic, Persian, English, Urdu and Pashto. Before the establishment of the academy, there was no such plate form for the writers and poets of Pashto language from where their work could reach to the masses. The establishment of the Academy helped give writers and intellectuals that plate form, as well as helping the Pashto written word adopt a certain discipline. The academy publishes a quarterly magazine, PASHTO, providing an establishment of appreciation for the Pashto prose form.

Positive impact of the Pashto Academy on Pashto literature: The Pashto academy has played an important role in the development of Pashto language as the total number of books published after the establishment of the Pashto Academy are many-fold more than the number of books published in the past 1200 years of literary history of Pashto language. To conclude, we can say Pashto literature, especially, Pashto poetry is on its peak as the Pashto poets are not afraid to write Ghazal, couplet or to do any kind of poetry, containing four, six or eight stanzas.

Pashto newspapers

History of Pashto newspapers

Syed Rahat Zakheili was not only a novelist and fiction writer of Pashto language, but Pashto first journalist who through journalism served the Pashto literature. To develop the Pashto literature, he started a weekly newspaper. “AFGHAN” and appreciated the Pashto poets and writers through the weekly. Unlike other language newspapers, Pashto journalism started to develop the Pashto literature, so we can easily say that there was a strong link between Pashto literature and Pashto journalism and the journalism started as to help develop the Pashto literature. The editor of the weekly, AFGHAN was Syed Abdullah Shah Kaka Khiel. Before AFGHAN Pashto journalism existed, but not in a regular and disciplined way. For instance, Al Jihad, one page newspaper owned by Abdul Ghaffar Peshawari used to be published under the editorship of Ghazi Abdul Ghafoor of Swat. Haji Sab Torakzai established a Litho press (printing press) in Tribal areas in 1915 during the ‘Jihad’ against Britain. Through this press special kind of pamphlets against the Britain used to publish and distributed among the people of the tribal areas. Similarly, Al Mujahid was another Pashto newspaper which started publishing in 1923 under the editorship of Maulvi Muhammad Bashir. This newspaper also used to publish in the tribal areas and printed material against the Britain. ‘Zalmi Pashtoon’ was another daily newspaper which used to publish in 1933 and ‘Hamdard Afghan’ would publish in 1929 under the editor ship of Khan Mir Hilali. During these days, Mohammad Nawaz Khatak started ‘WATAN’ that was a weekly newspaper.

Current Pashto newspapers

Two main dailies of Pashto language are Wahdat and Khabroona. ‘Wahdat’ started its publication in '80s during the Afghan war for the purpose to create a link between Pashtoons living on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

new pashto news papar Daily QUDRAT PASHTO Quetta Pakistan


The editorial policy of the newspaper is free in away that the paper is not under any kind of pressure from the government. Most of the material published in the editorial is Islamic. The newspaper mostly contains Islamic material. One page is a literature page comprising, editions related to religion (Islam). No such place has been given to sports or show biz news. Wahdat has no such magazine etc as supplement. The newspaper gives place to both government and non-government advertisement. Readership of the newspaper is in the thousands. Wahdat is mostly read in cities of Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, Karachi and Kandahar.


Khabroona is another daily newspaper of Pashto language that started in 2001-02. Khabroona is relatively new, but it is also read in Peshawar, Mardan, Swat, suburbs of Peshawar and in Kabul, Afghanistan. Editorial policy of the newspaper is quite free and liberal as well vis-à-vis Wahdat. The newspaper is not under any governmental pressure. The content of the newspaper is quite different from Wahdat, as it gives enough space to sports and show-biz news. As for its ad policy, the newspaper publishes government and private sector ads. The head offices of both Wahdat and Khabroona are in Peshawar.

Pashto magazines

History of Pashto magazines

The regular publication of magazines in Pashto language started when the owner of the weekly Afghan, Rahat Zakheili, started the magazine, Stari Mashi in 1931. During those days another magazine, Pashtoon started under the editorship of Abdul Khalique. And then some other people found the environment conducive for magazines reading and started the magazines like Selab and Angar on regular bases. During the world war-II, a magazine, Nan Paroon was published from Delhi under the editorship of Maulana Abdul Qadir and barrister Nasrullah Khan. Khyber Magazine, a magazine published from Government Islamia College, Peshawar in the '50s played a great role to project the views and problems of students on one hand and to promote Pashto literature on the other hand. Some other magazines which have their own fundamental and historical place in Pashto journalism are Qand, Adal , Qandeel and Tamas. These magazines have ceased publication.

Current Pashto magazines

I think that now a days great efforts had been made to keep live pashto magazine in pashtoonkhawa (nwfp). Noor-ul-bashaf Naveed has a vital role by publishing the magazine "Likwal". He itself supporting to save the life of "Likwal". On other hand "Pashtoon" again in field headed by pronoun pashto poet Rehmat Shah sail". Beside this other pashto writers just like Dr Israr also contributing their efforts in publishing various type magazines.....Sher-e-Afghan

Radio broadcasting

Radio Kabul is the official radio station of Afghanistan. The first radio transmitters were installed in Kabul in the 1920s. In 1925, a 200 watt Russian transmitter operating at AM 833 kHz was installed in Kabul Palace by King Amanullah Khan. The transmitter was replaced in 1931 by King Mohammed Nader Khan, and was upgraded in 1940 when a new 20 kilowatt transmitter was installed in its place, operating at 600 kHz. Programs were broadcast in Pashto and several other languages.

In the meantime, in 1935, Radio Pakistan, Peshawar started its programs in a small single room. The first word broadcasted from Radio Pakistan Peshawar was Kalma-e-Tauheed. Radio had great importance during these days because there were no newspapers or televisions, people listened to radio not only for news but for entertainment purposes as well.

Radio has an important role in the lives of the Pashtun people. Since the literacy rate is low among them, very few people are able to read newspaper, therefore, every family has a radio set in their house. Even the women in rural areas are informed and entertained by radio.

International Pashto radio station

Pashto is not only spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is also spoken some parts of India. There are also a large number of Pashtuns living overseas. Some Pashto language programs are included in the following international stations:

The above radio stations broadcast different programs like ‘Khabarnama’ (news), dramas, musical, women and agricultural related programs. Similarly, most of the programs comprise literary short-dramas, discussions and mushairas.

Stations like FM Boraq and FM 101 are going very well in NWFP, especially in rural areas. The private radio stations usually discuss the problems of youth, and as a result of which they listen to it and owing to this, these private stations get more funds as compared to the station(s) supervised by the government.

The name of Radio Pakistan, Peshawar will be written in golden words in the history of radio broadcasting as it played a huge role in the development of NWFP. Not only does it broadcast entertainment programs but also programs related to the development and welfare of the province. For instance, it broadcasts programs for women development, for health, education, for children, agriculture and so on. Besides this station, there are some other private radio stations that have taken this challenge and going well as they are quite popular among the young people in the area. These stations are comparatively liberal and usually discuss problems youths face as well as education. They also discuss other social issues pertaining to the youth (i.e. relationship problems, etc).

Radio stations from international religious organizations are also broadcast into the region. These stations tend to focus on community issues with programs about education, children, health and reconciliation. Christian programs come from underground sources in the area or are produced by Pashtuns living outside the region .

It has also been revealed that there are some illegal stations operating in the Pakistani side of the Durand Line. These stations are being operated by some clerics of the area, broadcasting their narrow version of religion, issueing Fatwas (decree) against each other's sects. The government has warned them of stern actions, but no such actions have been taken thus far.


Brief history

Pakistan Television, Peshawar centre: Pilot TV Centre A pilot TV Centre was formally inaugurated on December 5, 1974 at 2-Fort Road, Peshawar. It was Black and White Production/Transmitting Centre consisting of Recording Studio and a Booth for News/Announcement. On February 18, 1982 Main Color TV Centre was inaugurated at 58 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azain with Two Production Studios, one Announcement/News Studio, an Out door Broadcast Van and 07 Nos. of portable outdoor recording units for News/Current Affairs and Programmes.

Pakistan Television, Quetta Centre: PTV Quetta was established during 1974 in the abandoned Masonic Lodge, Quetta Cantt and was formally inaugurated on 26th November, 1974 (26th November, on the 10th opening anniversary of PTV in Pakistan as the first PTV Centre was established in Lahore on November 26, 1964 and later on too, most of the centers were established on 26 November).

Programmes of PTV, Peshawar: Pakistan television, Peshawar Center’s timings starts from 4pm to 6pm. The programmes comprise entertainment, News and current affairs. All the programmes telecast by Peshawar centre have a certain percentage of Hindku language programmes as well. Regarding entertainment, PTV, Peshawar, shows dramas, musical programmes, stage shows and programmes for children. The Pashto dramas of PTV are very popular in NWFP, especially in house wives. ‘Abaseen’, a stage show, used to telecast from PTV, Peshawar centre, was similar to Tariq Aziz show which still telecasts from PTV, Lahore centre. ‘Abaseen’ was also very popular among the people. Similarly PTV Peshawar centre shows a lot of other musical programmes which are very popular in youth. PTV, Peshawar centre telecast news in its two hours period. It telecasts Pashto, Urdu and Hindku news at 5pm, 4pm and 5:10 pm respectively. The policy for the news is the same as that of Pakistan television (PTV) i.e. pro-government. There is no such wide range of programmes that consist of topics pertaining to current affairs, but the situation is not deteriorating as the current affairs programmes have started to go on the right track. Talk shows like Jirga are trying to cover a wide array of issues from politics and social issues to religion.

PTV National: After PTV, PTV World and other channels started by Pakistan television, PTV National is another addition to the list of channels started by Pakistan television. It’s a national channel as it transmits the programmes in all languages spoken in Pakistan. So there is a specific time for Pashto programmes.

AVT Khyber: AVT Khyber started its transmission in 2004 from Asia set 3. Earlier the period of time for programmes was 12 hours, but on completion of one year it extended the time period to 24 hours. The actual time period of the programmes is 8 hours i.e. from 4 pm to 12 midnight. AVT Khyber is a complete Pashto channel. The channel shows every kind of programme. Like PTV, Peshawar centre, the programmes of AVT Khyber also consist of entertainment, news and current affairs. The policy for its news is the same as that of other private channels in the country.

Pashto TV : Pashto TV started brocasting in early 2007. The main studio is located in Cambridge Ontario Canada. Pashto TV Team is committed to bring the vibrant colors of Pukhtun culture in Canada.

Viewer ship of Pashto channels

Except some remote areas of NWFP, PTV, Peshawar has viewers from almost the whole NWFP. PTV National viewers are comparatively more as its transmissions are not confined to NWFP, but are watched in whole of the country and in other countries as well. AVT Khyber is watched in Pakistan and 66 other countries around the world. In Pakistan it is watched in NWFP, Balochistan and Karachi whereas abroad it is watched in Afghanistan, Middle East and in some European countries.

Pashto tali Films

History of Pashto film

The first Pashto film was made in 1939. Its name was ‘Laila Majnoon’. The film was released in 1942 and the people not only watched it in Peshawar, but in Quetta and Kolcata (Calcutta, India) as well. The director of the film was Mir Hamza Shinwari, while the composer of the film was Abdul Kareem. The heroine of Laila Majnoon was harry jay and the hero was Rafiqe Ghaznawi. Pashto second film was made after quite a long time i.e. in 1960. Its story was a translation of an Urdu film, ‘Nai Kiran’ (new ray). The dialogues of the film were written by Mir Hamza Shinwari. It was displayed at Novelty cinema, Peshawar. Pashto’s 3rd film, ‘Tiga’ was made by Mir Hamza Shinwari in 1963. The hero of the film was Umer Daraz, while Ludeel was the cameraman of the film. Then in 1968 a film, ‘Yakka Yousaf Khan’ was released. The heroine of the film was Ghazali while the hero was Rab Nawaz. This film was inaugurated by Urdu film star, Rangila.

Pashto hits

  1. ‘Yousaf Khan Sher Bano’ was made in 1969 and released in 1970. It was written by Ali Hyder Joshi and directed by Aziz Shamim.
  2. ‘Sandar Gharai’ (Singer) was released in 1970. Badar Munir was the hero and Yasmin Khan was the heroine of the movie, whereas Niamat Sarahadi was the villain.
  3. ‘Kala Khazan Kala Bahar’ (meaning some times autumn some times spring) was directed by Jamil Ahmad and produced by Syed Amir Sarhadi in 1970. The hero of the film was Aman.
  4. ‘Aalaqa Ghair’ (means land of no law) was made (produced) by Habibullah in 1971. Dialogues and poetry was made by Amir Hamza Shinwari.

Similarly ‘Darrae Khyber’, ‘Adam Khan Durkhanai’ (produced by Shakil Ayub and directed by Aziz Tabassum), ‘Musa Khan Gul Makai’ (hero was Asif khan and heroine was Yasmin Khan), ‘Bahadur Khan’ (hero was Humayun Qureshi), ‘Ajab Khan Afridi’, ‘Zama Badan’, ‘Maghrur’, ‘Oarbal’, ‘Topak Zama Qanoon’ (produced by Aziz Tabassum), ‘Dahqan’ (produced by Badar Munir), ‘Baghi’, ‘Arman’, ‘Miranae Roar’ (step brother), ‘Tarbooz’, ‘Iqrar’, ‘Angar’, ‘Zakhmoona, ‘Navae au Nakriza’ (Bridal and Henna), ‘Ujrati Qatil’, ‘Da Aoochea Khan’, ‘Prdang’, ‘Toofani Shappa’, ‘Bangri au Hathqardae’, ‘Ab-e-Hyat’, ‘Khulea Nave’, ‘Kufar au Islam’, ‘Da Karye Gorilla’ and many more are the Pashto hits form 1970-71 to 1985.

Role of film in the development of NWFP: From 1960 to 80s Pashto film enjoyed its great times. Its standard was on no grounds less than that of Urdu films till mid 70s and even 80s. If there were waheed Murad, Nadim and Mohammad Ali in Lollywood (Urdu films), so Badar Munir, Asif Khan and many others were the chocolate heroes of

Pashto film industry

During these days cinema was the most effective way to communicate with the people as the standard of the movies were very good. Till mid 80s films were made on almost every subject and the people really loved to watch Pashto movies in cinema. So Pashto films played a great role in development of Pakhtoon khuwa as though cinema used to situate only in the urban areas of NWFP, but people from far flung areas came to cities like Peshawar, Mardan, and Mingora etc to watch films. Now though the standard of the Pashto film has fallen very much, but the youths, especially the rural people still love to go to cinema.

Pashto films in the 90s: Till 1990 there were some great names in the Pashto film industry. For instance, Mir Hamza Shinwari who was a producer, director and a great name in the Pashto poetry. Murad Shinwari is the one whose name comes in the list of the producers and directors who really served the Pashto industry in its real sense. Amir Ghulam Sadiq is the only name in the Pashto film industry, who did poetry for Pashto films for almost more than 30 years. But after 1990 owing to the absence of institutionalization in the Pashto film industry, there were no such dedicated people, which in intern created environment conducive to vulgarity and obscenity and the standard of the Pashto films fell.

Pashto film and the MMA government

Pashto films seem to have lost their fans due to restrictions by the MMA government on their publicity through banners and posters of the film stars. The laborers who come to the provincial capital, Peshawar for manual jobs used to watch Pashto films in cinemas, but due to the bane the audience of the Pashto film has reduced tremendously because it usually comprises the laborer class who cannot even read the names of film stars. Pashto films which had a limited circuit of three cities--- Peshawar Karachi, and Quetta --- was already passing through a difficult phase and anti-obscenity drive of the MMA proved to be the last nail in the coffin.

Future of Pashto film

Future of the Pashto film industry seems to be bright as there are still some people who want to do something for the betterment of the industry. For instance, Ajab Gul, who is a renowned actor and director in both the Urdu and the Pashto film industry. In 1999 he made a film, ‘Srre Sttergae’ (red eyes) and through this film he proved that still there is a great potential in Pashto films as the story for the first time after many years was quite different and the cast, especially the heroine(s) were new and seemed that after a great hard work the film was completed. A few months back, another Pashto film, ‘Qalam au Kalashnikov’, written by Faiz Mohammad released. The standard was quite good and people liked the movie.

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