The society and culture of Pakistan (Urdu: ثقافتِ پاکستان S̱aqāfat-e-Pākistān) comprises numerous ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Potwaris, Kashmiris, Sindhis in east, Muhajirs, Makrani in the south; Baloch, Hazaras and Pashtuns in the west; and the Dards, Wakhi, Baltis, Shinaki and Burusho communities in the north. The culture of these Pakistani ethnic groups have been greatly influenced by many of its neighbours, such as the other South Asians, Turkic peoples as well as the peoples of Central Asia and West Asia.
The region has formed a distinct unit within the main geographical complex of South Asia, West Asia the Middle East and Central Asia from the earliest times, and is analogous to the position of Afghanistan. There are differences among the ethnic groups in cultural aspects such as dress, food, and religion, especially where pre-Islamic customs differ from Islamic practices. Their cultural origins also reveal influences from far afield, including China, India and Afghanistan. Pakistan was the first region of South Asia to be fully impacted by Islam and has thus developed a distinct Islamic identity, historically different from areas further east.
Main articles: Pakistani literature and Books and publishing in Pakistan
Pakistani literature originates from when Pakistan gained its independence as a sovereign state in 1947. The common and shared tradition of Urdu literature and English literature of Greater India was inherited by the new state. Over a period of time, a body of literature unique to Pakistan emerged, written in nearly all major Pakistani languages, including Urdu, English, Punjabi, Pashto, Seraiki, Baloch, and Sindhi.
Main articles: Pakistani poetry and List of Urdu Poets
Poetry is a highly respected art and profession in Pakistan. The pre-eminent form of poetry in Pakistan almost always originates in Persian, due in part to the long-standing affiliation and heavy admiration the region's rulers once had for certain aspects of foreign Persian culture. The enthusiasm for poetry exists at a regional level as well, with nearly all of Pakistan's provincial languages continuing the legacy. Since the independence of the country in 1947 and establishment of Urdu as the national language, poetry is written in that language as well. The Urdu language has a rich tradition of poetry and includes the famous poets Muhammad Iqbal (national poet), Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Habib Jalib, Jazib Qureshi, and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi. Apart from Urdu poetry, Pakistani poetry also has blends of other regional languages. Balochi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Seraiki, and Pashto poetry have all incorporated and influenced Pakistani poetry.
Main article: Music of Pakistan
The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and Western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and Western music by the world-renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition, Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such as the late Alam Lohar, who is also well known in Indian Punjab. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Dari music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution center for Afghani music abroad.
Kathak -the classical dance that developed in the royal courts of the Mughals.
Folk dances are still popular in Pakistan and vary according to the region such as:
Main article: Folk dances of Punjab
- Lewa - Baluch folk dance from Makran region
- Chap - Baluch folk dance performed at weddings
- Jhumar - Saraiki, and Balochi folk dance
- Attan - Folk dance of Pashtuns tribes of Pakistan including the unique styles of Quetta and Waziristan
- Khattak Dance - sword dance of Khattak tribe in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- Jhumar and Gatka - Popular dance of hazara division Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- Chitrali Dance - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
- Kumbar - folk dance of Hazara
Drama and theatre
Main article: Theatre in Pakistan
These are very similar to stage plays in theatres. They are performed by well-known actors and actresses in the Lollywood industry. The dramas and plays often deal with themes from everyday life, often with a humorous touch.
Abdul Rehman Chughtai, Sughra Rababi, Ustad Allah Baksh, Aboo B. Rana, Ajaz Anwar, Ismail Gulgee, Jamil Naqsh, and Sadequain are prominent and outstanding creative painters of Pakistan. Pakistani vehicle art is a popular folk art.
Main article: Pakistani architecture
The architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be traced to four distinct periods: pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial, and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day.Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of Buddhism, Guptas, Mouryas, and the Persian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan introduced the classical Islamic construction techniques into Pakistan's architectural landscape. However, a smooth transition to predominantly picture-less Islamic architecture occurred. The town of Uch Sharif contains the tombs of Bibi Jawindi, Baha'is-Halim, and Jalaluddin Bukhari, which are considered some of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in Pakistan and are on the UNESCO Tentative World Heritage Site list since 2004. One of the most important of the few examples of the Persian style of architecture is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era, design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with, and often produced playful forms of, local art, resulting in the establishment of Mughal Architecture. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Mughal-influenced Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. The Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh also originates from the epoch of the Mughals, as does the Mohabbat Khan Mosque in Peshawar.
In the British colonial age, the buildings developed were predominantly of the Indo-European style, with a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern structures like the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.
Recreation and sports
Main article: Sports in Pakistan
The official national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, but cricket and squash are the most popular sports. The Pakistan national field hockey team has won the Hockey World Cup a record four times. The Pakistan national cricket team won the Cricket World Cup in 1992, were runners-up in 1999, and co-hosted the games in 1987 and 1996. Additionally, they have also won the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 and were runners-up in 2007. The team has also won the Austral-Asia Cup in 1986, 1990, and 1994. In 2017, Pakistan won the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy against his rival India.
At the international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Hockey is the sport in which Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, winning three gold medals (1960, 1968, and 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup four times (1971, 1978, 1982, and 1994). Pakistan has hosted several international competitions, including the South Asian Federation Games in 1989 and 2004.
A1 Grand Prix racing is also becoming popular with the entry of a Pakistani team in the 2005 season. The Tour de Pakistan, modeled on the Tour de France, is an annual cycling competition that covers the length and breadth of Pakistan. Recently, football has grown in popularity across the country, where traditionally it had been played almost exclusively in the western province of Balochistan. FIFA has recently teamed up with the government to bring football closer to the northern areas.
Main article: Pakistani cuisine
Culinary art in Pakistan mainly a mix of Indian cuisines with some Middle Eastern and Afghan influence. There are variations of cooking practices across the country, mostly from spicy in Punjab and Sindh to steamed and boiled in NWFP and Balochistan. Urban centers of the country offer an amalgamation of recipes from all parts of the country, while food with specific local ingredients and tastes is available in rural areas and villages. Different specialties exist throughout the country mostly different type of rice like Bryant, Plato or Boiled rice with vegetables and meat are used with Korma and desserts. There are also local forms of grilled meat or kebabs, Kheer desserts, and a variety of hot and cold drinks.
Festivals and observances
Main article: Public holidays in Pakistan
Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, is a month of fasting from dawn to sunset. It is widely observed by Pakistan's Muslim majority. Muslims during this month will fast, attend mosques with increased frequency, and offer "Namaz-travel" every day with Isha prayer and recite Qur'an. Special foods are cooked in greater quantities, parties are held, and special accommodation is made by workplaces and educational institutes.
Chand Raat is the Moon night when crescent moon is sighted on last day of Islamic month of Ramadan and next day is Eid ul-Fitr. In the night known as Chand Raat, people celebrate by various means, such as girls putting henna on their hands. People buy gifts and sweets that will be given to friends and families who come over to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The streets, major buildings, and landmarks, even outside of malls and plazas, put on displays of elaborate decorations and colorful light shows. There are large crowds in the city center to celebrate the beginning of Eid, and it is usually a boom time for business.
The two Eids, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, commemorate the passing of the month of fasting, Ramadan, and the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael for Allah. On these days, there are national holidays and many festival events that take place to celebrate Eid.<As Pakistan is a Muslim state, there are three days off for all businesses and government offices.
On the night before Eid, people search for the new moon to mark the end of Ramadan and arrival of Eid ul-Fitr. The day starts with morning prayers, then returning home for a large breakfast with family members. The day is spent visiting relatives and friends and sharing gifts and sweets with everyone. During the evening, Pakistanis often party, visit restaurants or relax in city parks.
On Eid ul-Fitr, money is given for charity and as gifts to young children.
On Eid ul-Adha, people may also distribute meat to relatives and neighbors and donate food to charity.
Milaad un Nabi
Milaad un Nabi is a known religious festival which is celebrated in many parts of Pakistan. The Milaad is the celebration of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Main article: Mourning of Muharram
Muharram is a month of remembrance and modern Shia meditation that is often considered synonymous with Ashura. Ashura, which literally means the "Tenth" in Arabic, refers to the tenth day of Muharram. It is well-known because of historical significance and mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein Ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad
Shias begin mourning from the first night of Muharram and continue for ten nights, climaxing on the 10th of Muharram, known as the Day of Ashura. The last few days up until and including the Day of Ashura are the most important because these were the days in which Imam Hussein and his family and followers (including women, children, and elderly people) were deprived of water from the 7th onward and on the 10th, Imam Hussain and 72 of his followers were martyred by the army of Yazid I at the Battle of Karbala on Yazid's orders. The surviving members of Imam Hussein's family and those of his followers were taken captive, marched to Damascus, and imprisoned there.
With the sighting of the [[new moon],] the Islamic New Year is ushered in. The first month, Muharram is one of the four sacred months that [Allah] has mentioned in the Quran.
Main article: Basant (season)
Jashn-e-Baharan sometimes referred to as Basant, is a pre-Islamic Punjabi festival that marks the coming of spring. Celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore, and people from all over the country and abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite flying competitions took place all over the city's rooftops during Basant but are now prohibited. The fertile province of Punjab was intimately tied via its agriculture to the different seasons of the year. The arrival of spring was an important event for all farmers and was welcomed with a celebration, hence the name Jashn (celebration) Baharan (spring).
Main article: Independence Day (Pakistan)
On 14th. August, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day when Pakistan gained its independence from British India and became an independent state for Muslims of South Asia. The day begins with gatherings and prayers in mosques all across Pakistan in which people pray for the betterment and success of their country. Early in the morning, a 21 cannon salute is given to all those who contributed and lost their lives for attaining Independence. Flag hoisting ceremonies are held in the capital Islamabad and all capital cities of other provinces. Mega-events are organized all across the country, in which the people of Pakistan sing their national anthem and famous classical and pop singers sing various patriotic songs. Famous governmental and private buildings are decorated with lights and the day is concluded by a spectacular firework in Major cities of Pakistan.
Defense Day Parade
Main article: Defence Day
September 6 is another patriotic day when the Army of Pakistan displays Pakistani weaponry to the general public. All government officials attend the ceremony and recognitions are awarded to special people for their work. In March 2007, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) displayed the new jointly manufactured Chinese-Pakistani aircraft called the JF-17 Thunder.
Main article: Television in Pakistan
Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. The PTV channels are controlled by the government and opposition views are not given much time. The past decade has seen the emergence of several private TV channels showing news and entertainment, such as GEO TV, AAJ TV, ARY Digital, HUM, MTV Pakistan, and others. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas, some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian TV channels, and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV. Television accounted for almost half of the advertising expenditure in Pakistan in 2002.
Main article: Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation
See also: List of Pakistani radio channels
The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was formed on 14 August 1947, the day of Pakistani independence. It was a direct descendant of the Indian Broadcasting Company, which later became All India Radio. At independence, Pakistan had radio stations in Dhaka, Lahore, and Peshawar. A major programme of expansion saw new stations open at Karachi and Rawalpindi in 1948, and a new broadcasting house at Karachi in 1950. This was followed by new radio stations at Hyderabad (1951), Quetta (1956), the second station at Rawalpindi (1960), and a receiving center at Peshawar (1960). During the 1980s and 1990s, the corporation expanded its network to many cities and towns of Pakistan to provide greater service to the local people. Today, there are over a hundred radio stations due to more liberal media regulations.
Main article: Cinema of Pakistan
See also: List of Pakistani films, Lollywood, Pashto cinema, Kariwood, Kara Film Festival, and Cinepax
Pakistan's movie industry is known as Lollywood, named after the city of Lahore. Film production centers also exist in Karachi and Peshawar. The Pakistani film industry produces over forty feature-length films a year. Bollywood films are also popular in Pakistan.
Main article: Shalwar kameez
See also: Pakistani clothing
The national dress is shalwar kameez for both men and women. It consists of a long, loose fitting tunic with trousers baggy enough to not to see the shape of their legs.
- ^ abBasham, A.L. (1968), Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia, 641-643
- ^Dehejia, Vidja South Asian Art and Culture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved on 10 February 2008
- ^The Indus Valley And The Genesis Of South Asian Civilization  Retrieved on 6 February 2008
- ^Architecture in Pakistan: A Historical OverviewArchived 16 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. All Things Pakistan. Retrieved on 10 February 2008
- ^UNESCO World Heritage State Parties Pakistan Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- ^World HockeyArchived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine., International Hockey Federation
- ^"Muharram". 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
- ^"A celebration of spring turns ugly". Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^http://www.warc.com/LandingPages/Data/NewspaperTrends/PDF/Pakistan.pdfArchived 6 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^Koerner, Stephanie; Russell, Ian (2010). Unquiet Pasts: Risk Society, Lived Cultural Heritage, Re-designing Reflexivity. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-7548-8.
See also: Censorship in Pakistan and Internet censorship in Pakistan
Media in Pakistan provides information on television, radio, cinema, newspapers, and magazines in Pakistan. Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic in South Asia. To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression in spite of political pressure and direct bans sometimes administered by political stake holders. Political pressure on media is mostly done indirectly. One tool widely used by the government is to cut off ‘unfriendly’ media from governmental advertising. Using draconian laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In addition, media is also exposed to propaganda from state agencies, pressured by powerful political elements and non-state actors involved in the current conflict.
Media freedom in Pakistan is complicated, journalists are free to report on most things. however any articles critical of the Government or the Military and related security agencies are automatically censored. Anything perceived as blasphemous by the country's Blasphemy laws are also automatically subject to censorship. The blasphemy laws are also used to block website based free media such as YouTube and others.
The security situation for journalists in general has deteriorated in decade. At least 61 journalists have been killed since 2010 with at least 14 journalists killed in 2014 alone. A climate of fear impedes coverage of both state security forces and the militant groups.Threats and intimidation against journalists and media workers by state and non-state actors is widespread.
In its 2014 Press Freedom Index, Reporters without borders ranked Pakistan number 158 out of 180 countries based on freedom of the press. While Freedom House in its latest report listed the media in Pakistan as "Not Free".
Since 2002, the Pakistani media has become powerful and independent and the number of private television channels have grown from just three state-run channels in 2000 to 89 in 2012, according to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. Most of the private media in Pakistan flourished under the Musharraf regime.
Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape and enjoys independence to a large extent. After having been liberalised in 2002, the television sector experienced a media boom. In the fierce competitive environment that followed commercial interests became paramount and quality journalism gave way to sensationalism. Although the radio sector has not seen similar growth, independent radio channels are numerous and considered very important sources of information - especially in the rural areas.
The Pakistani media landscape reflects a multi-linguistic, multi-ethnic and class-divided society. There is a clear divide between Urdu and English media. The Urdu media, particularly the newspapers, are widely read by the masses - mostly in rural areas. The English media is urban and elite-centric, is more liberal and professional compared to the Urdu media. English print, television and radio channels have far smaller audiences than their Urdu counterparts, but have greater leverage among opinion makers, politicians, the business community and the upper strata of society.
Pakistan has a vibrant media landscape; among the most dynamic and outspoken in South Asia. To a large extent the media enjoys freedom of expression. More than 89 television channels beam soaps, satire, music programmes, films, religious speech, political talk shows, and news of the hour. Although sometimes criticise for being unprofessional and politically biased, the television channels have made a great contribution to the media landscape and to Pakistani society.
Radio channels are numerous and considered a very important source of information - especially in the rural areas. Besides the state channel Radio Pakistan, a number of private radios carry independent journalistic content and news. But most radio content is music and entertainment. There are hundreds of Pakistani newspapers from the large national Urdu newspapers to the small local vernacular papers.
Pakistan's media sector is highly influenced by the ownership structure. There are three dominating media moguls, or large media groups, which to some extent also have political affiliations. Due to their dominance in both print and broadcast industries all three media groups are very influential in politics and society.
The media in Pakistan dates back to pre-partition years of British India, where a number of newspapers were established to promote a communalistic or partition agenda. The newspaper Dawn, founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and first published in 1941, was dedicated to promoting for an independent Pakistan. The conservative newspaper, Nawa-i-Waqt, established in 1940 was the mouthpiece of the Muslim elites who were among the strongest supporters for an independent Pakistan.
In a sense, Pakistani print media came into existence with a mission to promulgate the idea of Pakistan, which was seen as the best national option for the Muslim minority in British India and as a form of self-defence against suppression from the Hindu majority.
Role in exposing corruption
Since the introduction of these vibrant TV channels, many major corruption cases and scams have been unveiled by journalists. Notable among them are:
“Malik Riaz’s case proved that the media can hold the judiciary and even itself accountable,” says Javed Chaudhry, columnist and anchorperson working with Express News. “This case, along with the missing persons' case has established impartiality and credibility of the media in its fight against corruption.” Chaudhry feels, like many others in country, that the media in Pakistan has become free and fair during the last decade. “The Pakistani media has covered the journey of 100 years in just 10 years, but their curiosity and thrust for revelation does not end and that is what drives the media.”
TENSIONS: According to a report by the UK Foreign Office, Pakistan’s media environment continued to develop and, in many cases, flourish. Since opening up in 2002, the number and range of media outlets has proliferated, so that Pakistanis now have greater access than ever before to a range of broadcasting through print, television and online media. The increased media penetration into most aspects of Pakistani life has created challenges as well as opportunities, as both the journalistic community and politicians and officials build their understanding of effective freedom of expression and responsible reporting.
However, in 2011, Reporters Without Borders listed Pakistan as one of the ten most deadly places to be a journalist. As the War in North-West Pakistan continues, there have been frequent threats against journalists. The proliferation of the media in Pakistan since 2002 has brought a massive increase in the number of domestic and foreign journalists operating in Pakistan. The UK Foreign Office states that it is vital that the right to freedom of expression continues to be upheld by the Pakistani Government. This was highlighted by an event supporting freedom of expression run by the European Union in Pakistan, which the United Kingdom supported.
Support for creation of new media
In 2012-14, UPI Next with NearMedia LLC helped Pakistani journalists to create PakPolWiki, an online resource for coverage of the national elections, and Truth Tracker, a fact-checking website. In this project, the team held learning sessions across the country and conducted individual mentoring for journalists to produce stories that meet national and international standards.
NearMedia continued the effort with a project for 2014-15 that, in partnership with Media Foundation 360, launched News Lens Pakistan, an independent online news cooperative which publishes stories in English, Urdu and Pashto for a national audience, and distributes these stories to national and local news outlets. Learning sessions, in which editors work with reporters newsroom-style to improve their skills, are held in districts of all provinces, and international journalists work with the Pakistan team to mentor them individually.
Pakistan - US Journalists Exchange Program
Since 2011, the East-West Center (EWC), headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, have been organising the annual Pakistan - United States Journalists Exchange program. It was launched and designed to increase and deepen public understanding of the two countries and their important relationship, one that is crucial to regional stability and the global war on terrorism. While there have been many areas of agreement and cooperation, deep mistrust remains between the two, who rarely get opportunities to engage with each other and thus rely on media for their information and viewpoints. Unresolved issues continue to pose challenges for both countries.
This exchange offers U.S. and Pakistani journalists an opportunity to gain on-the-ground insights and firsthand information about the countries they visit through meetings with policymakers, government and military officials, business and civil society leaders, and a diverse group of other community members. All participants meet at the East-West Center in Hawaii before and after their study tours for dialogues focused on sensitive issues between the two countries; preconceived attitudes among the public and media in the United States and Pakistan; new perspectives gained through their study tours; and how media coverage between the two countries can be improved. Ten Pakistani journalists will travel to the United States and ten U.S. journalists will travel to Pakistan. This East-West Center program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy Islamabad Public Affairs Section.
The program provides journalists with valuable new perspectives and insights on this critically important relationship, a wealth of contacts and resources for future reporting, and friendships with professional colleagues in the other country upon whom to draw throughout their careers.
International Center for Journalists
In 2011, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit, professional organisation located in Washington, D.C. launched the U.S. - Pakistan Professional Partnership in Journalism program, a multi-year program which will bring 230 Pakistani media professionals to the United States and send 70 U.S. journalists to Pakistan. Journalists will study each other's cultures as they are immersed in newsrooms in each country.
The program will include events and opportunities to experience U.S. life, showcasing its diversity. Representatives from the U.S. media hosts will go to Pakistan for two-week programs during which they will learn the realities of Pakistani journalism and national life through site visits, interviews and opportunities to interact with journalists, officials and ordinary Pakistanis.
Pakistanis will receive four-week internships at U.S. media organizations.
Participants on both sides will have opportunities to report on their experiences in each country, which will help to educate their audiences and dispel myths and misconceptions that people carry in each country about residents of the other.
ICFJ has also established the Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) in Karachi, Pakistan. The CEJ serves as a hub for the professional development, training and networking of Pakistani journalists and media professionals from all parts of the country.
Through targeted, practical trainings and the exchange component of the program, the CEJ aims to foster long-lasting connections between the participating universities, media outlets, and professional journalists.
A partnership with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) aims to provide targeted, practical trainings for Pakistani journalists in print, broadcast, and digital media. Courses will be co-instructed by faculty from the Medill School, accomplished newsroom managers, editors and reporters from the United States, and prominent media professionals from Pakistan.
The first step in introducing media laws in the country was done by the then military ruler and President Ayub Khan who promulgated the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO) in 1962. The law empowered the authorities to confiscate newspapers, close down news providers, and arrest journalists. Using these laws, Ayub Khan nationalised large parts of the press and took over one of the two largest news agencies. The other agencies was pushed into severe crisis and had to seek financial support from the government. Pakistani Radio and Television, which was established in 1964 was also brought under the strict control of the government.
More draconian additions were made to the PPO during the reign of General Zia-Ul-Haq in the 1980s. According to these new amendments, the publisher would be liable and prosecuted if a story was not to the liking of the administration even if it was factual and of national interest. These amendments were used to promote Haq's Islamist leanings and demonstrated the alliance between the military and religions leaders. Censorship during the Zia years was direct, concrete and dictatorial. Newspapers were scrutinised; critical or undesired sections of an article censored. In the wake of Zia-ul-Haq's sudden death and the return of democracy, the way was paved to abate the draconian media laws through a revision of media legislation called the Revised PPO (RPPO).
From 2002, under General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani media faced a decisive development that would lead to a boom in Pakistani electronic media and paved the way to it gaining political clout. New liberal media laws broke the state's monopoly on the electronic media. TV broadcasting and FM radio licenses were issued to private media outlets.
The military's motivation for liberalising media licensing was based on an assumption that the Pakistani media could be used to strengthen national security and counter any perceived threats from India. What prompted this shift was the military's experience during the two past confrontations with India. One was the Kargil War and the other was the hijacking of the India Airliner by militants. In both these instances, the Pakistani military was left with no options to reciprocate because its electronic media were inferior to that of the Indian media. Better electronic media capacity was needed in the future and thus the market for electronic media was liberalised.
The justification was just as much a desire to counter the Indian media power, as it was a wish to set the media "free" with the rights that electronic media had in liberal, open societies. The military thought it could still control the media and harness it if it strayed from what the regime believed was in the national interest - and in accordance with its own political agenda.
This assessment however proved to be wrong as the media and in particular the new many new TV channels became a powerful force in civil society. The media became an important actor in the process that led to fall of Musharraf and his regime. By providing extensive coverage of the 2007 Lawyer's Movement's struggle to get the chief justice reinstated, the media played a significant role in mobilising civil society. This protest movement, with millions of Pakistanis taking to the streets in the name of having an independent judiciary and democratic rule, left Musharraf with little backing from civil society and the army. Ultimately, he had to call for elections. Recently, due to a renewed interplay between civil society organisations, the Lawyers' Movement and the electronic media, Pakistan's new President, Asif Ali Zardari had to give in to public and political pressure and reinstate the chief justice. The emergence of powerful civil society actors was unprecedented in Pakistani history. These could not have gained in strength without the media, which will need to continue and play a pivotal role if Pakistan has to develop a stronger democracy, greater stability and take on socio-political reforms.
Whether Pakistan's media, with its powerful TV channels, is able to take on such a huge responsibility and make changes from within depends on improving general working conditions; on the military and the state bureaucracy; the security situation of journalists; media laws revision; better journalism training; and lastly on the will of the media and the media owners themselves.
Though Pakistani media enjoy relative freedom compared to some of its South Asian neighbours, the industry was subjected to many undemocratic and regressive laws and regulations. The country was subjected to alternating military and democratic rule - but has managed to thrive on basic democratic norms. Though the Pakistani media had to work under military dictatorships and repressive regimes, which instituted many restrictive laws and regulations for media in order to 'control' it, the media was not largely affected. The laws are, however, detrimental to democracy reform, and represent a potential threat to the future of Pakistan and democracy.
The root for the article 19 freedom of expression traced from South Asia when any body was directly sentenced to death if they uttered a single word against the government. The Pakistani Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the basic premise for media freedom. While emphasizing the state's allegiance to Islam, the constitution underlines the key civil rights inherent in a democracy and states that citizens:
Shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality.
There are a number of legislative and regulatory mechanisms that directly and indirectly affect the media. Besides the Press and Publication Ordinance (PPO) mentioned, these laws include the Printing Presses and Publications Ordinance 1988, the Freedom of Information Ordinance of 2002, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) of 2002, the Defamation Ordinance of 2002, the Contempt of Court Ordinance of 2003, the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance 2003, the Press Council Ordinance 2002, the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan Ordinance 2005 and lastly the Access to Information Ordinance of 2006. Also there were attempts in 2006 for further legislation ostensibly "to streamline registration of newspapers, periodicals, news and advertising agencies and authentication of circulation figures of newspapers and periodicals (PAPRA)."
The liberalisation of the electronic media in 2002 was coupled to a bulk of regulations. The opening of the media market led to the mushrooming of satellite channels in Pakistan. Many operators started satellite and/or cable TV outlets without any supervision by the authorities. The government felt that it was losing millions of rupees by not 'regulating' the mushrooming cable TV business.
Another consequence of the 2002 regulations was that most of these were hurriedly enacted by President Musharraf before the new government took office. Most of the new laws that were anti-democratic and were not intended to promote public activism but to increase his control of the public. Many media activists felt that the new regulations were opaque and had been subject to interpretation by the courts which would have provided media practitioners with clearer guidelines.
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority
Main article: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA, formerly RAMBO - Regulatory Authority for Media and Broadcast Organizations) was formed in 2002 to "facilitate and promote a free, fair and independent electronic media", including opening the broadcasting market in Pakistan. By the end of 2009 PEMRA had:
- issued 78 satellite TV licenses;
- issued "landing rights" to 28 TV channels operating from abroad, with more under consideration;
- issued licenses for 129 FM radio stations, including 18 non-commercial licenses to leading universities offering courses mass communication and six licenses in Azad Jammu and Kashmir;
- registered 2,346 cable TV systems serving an estimated 8 million households; and
- issued six MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service), two Internet protocol TV (IPTV), and two mobile TV licenses, with more under consideration.
PEMRA is also involved in media censorship and occasionally halts broadcasts and closes media outlets. Publication or broadcast of “anything which defames or brings into ridicule the head of state, or members of the armed forces, or executive, legislative or judicial organs of the state,” as well as any broadcasts deemed to be “false or baseless” can bring jail terms of up to three years, fines of up to 10 million rupees (US$165,000), and license cancellation. In practice, these rules and regulations are not enforced.
In November 2011, Pakistani cable television operators blocked the BBC World News TV channel after it broadcast a documentary, entitled Secret Pakistan. However, Pakistanis with a dish receiver can still watch it and can continue to access its website and web stream. Dr. Moeed Pirzada of PTV stated that it was hypocritical of the foreign media to label it as 'suppression of the media' when the United States continues to ban Al Jazeera English and no cable operator in the US would carry the channel. He also stated that even 'democratic' and 'liberal' Indians refuse to carry a single Pakistani news channel on their cable or any Pakistani op-ed writers in their newspapers.
Main article: Television in Pakistan
Further information: List of Urdu language television channels
The first television station began broadcasting from Lahore on 26 November 1964. Television in Pakistan remained the government's exclusive control until 1990 when Shalimar Television Network (STN) and Network Television Marketing (NTM) launched Pakistan’s first private TV channel. Which was shut down very soon by PTV bureaucratic conspiracies. But it was of no use as til then cable TV network was already introduced in urbanized cities, like Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Foreign satellite TV channels were added during the 1990s.
Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. The PTV channels are controlled by the government and opposition views are not given much time. The past decade has seen the emergence of several private TV channels showing news and entertainment, such as GEO TV, AAJ TV, ARY Digital, HUM, MTV Pakistan, and others such as KTN, Sindh TV, Awaz TV, Kashish TV. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas, some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian TV channels, and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV. Television accounted for almost half of the advertising expenditure in Pakistan in 2002.
Using oppressive laws the government has also banned or officially silenced popular television channels. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has been used to silence the broadcast media by either suspending licenses or by simply threatening to do so. In many cases these channels were shifted to obscure numbers in channel line-up. In addition, media is also exposed to propaganda from state agencies, pressured by powerful political elements and non-state actors involved in the current conflict. A number of channels have been shut down in the past with the latest such incident involving Geo TV and other channels in the Geo TV network after a Fatwa was issued against it. The shutdown came after the network attempted to air allegations on the involvement of Inter-Services Intelligence in the attempted assassination of its leading anchor Hamid Mir.
Main article: Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation
See also: List of Pakistani radio channels
The government-owned Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was formed on 14 August 1947, the day of Pakistani independence. It was a direct descendant of the Indian Broadcasting Company, which later became All India Radio. At independence, Pakistan had radio stations in Dhaka, Lahore, and Peshawar. A major programme of expansion saw new stations open at Karachi and Rawalpindi in 1948, and a new broadcasting house at Karachi in 1950. This was followed by new radio stations at Hyderabad (1951), Quetta (1956), a second station at Rawalpindi (1960), and a receiving centre at Peshawar (1960). During the 1980s and 1990s the corporation expanded its network to many cities and towns of Pakistan to provide greater service to the local people. In October 1998, Radio Pakistan started its first FM transmission.
Today, there are over a hundred public and private radio stations due to more liberal media regulations. FM broadcast licenses are awarded to parties that commit to open FM broadcasting stations in at least one rural city along with the major city of their choice.
The press is much more restricted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where independent radio is allowed only with permission from the government.
Main article: Cinema of Pakistan
See also: List of Pakistani films, Lollywood, Pashto cinema, Kariwood, Kara Film Festival, and Cinepax
|“||In the ‘golden days’ of Pakistani cinema, the film industry churned out more than 200 films annually, today it’s one-fifth of what it used to be. The Federal Bureau of Statistics shows that once the country boasted at least 700 cinemas, this number has dwindled to less than 170 by 2005.||”|
The indigenous movie industry, based in Lahore and known as "Lollywood", produces roughly forty feature-length films a year.
In 2008 the Pakistani government partially lifted its 42-year ban on screening Indian movies in Pakistan.
On April 27, 2016 Maalik became the first Pakistani film to be banned by the Federal Government after being cleared with Universal rating by all three Censor Boards and running in Cinemas for 18 days. The film has been banned under section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance of 1979, a legislation which is redundant after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, where Censorship of films is no longer a Federal subject. Maalik (Urdu مالک) is a 2016 Pakistani Political, thriller film made by Ashir Azeem. The film was released on 8 April 2016 in cinemas across Pakistan. میں پاکستان کا شہری پاکستان کا مالک ھوں, the film extols the principle of Government of the people, by the people and for the people. Maalik is the desire of a common Pakistani for freedom, democracy and justice in a country that has been hijacked by the feudal elites after the departure of the British from the subcontinent and who continues to rule and mismanage an impoverished nation, while amassing huge personal fortunes for themselves. The film was banned in Pakistan by the Federal Government on April 27, 2016 for endangering democracy.
Newspapers, news channels, and magazines
Further information: List of newspapers in Pakistan, News channels in Pakistan, and List of magazines in Pakistan
In 1947, only four major Muslim-owned newspapers existed in the area now called Pakistan: Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-i-Waqt, and Civil-Military Gazette. A number of Muslim papers and their publishers moved to Pakistan, including Dawn, which began publishing daily in Karachi in 1947, the Morning News, and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam. By the early 2000s, 1,500 newspapers and journals existed in Pakistan.
In the early 21st century, as in the rest of the world, the number of print outlets in Pakistan declined precipitously, but total circulation numbers increased. From 1994 to 1997, the total number of daily, monthly, and other publications increased from 3,242 to 4,455, but had dropped to just 945 by 2003 with most of the decline occurring in the Punjab Province. However, from 1994 to 2003 total print circulation increased substantially, particularly for dailies (3 million to 6.2 million). And after the low point in 2003 the number of publications grew to 1279 in 2004, to 1997 in 2005, 1467 in 2006, 1820 in 2007, and 1199 in 2008.
Newspapers and magazines are published in 11 languages; most in Urdu and Sindhi, but English-language publications are numerous. Most print media are privately owned, but the government controls the Associated Press of Pakistan, one of the major news agencies. From 1964 into the early 1990s, the National Press Trust acted as the government's front to control the press. The state, however, no longer publishes daily newspapers; the former Press Trust sold or liquidated its newspapers and magazines in the early 1990s.
The press is generally free and has played an active role in national elections, but journalists often exercise self-censorship as a result of arrests and intimidation by government and societal actors. The press is much more restricted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where no newspapers are published, and in Azad Kashmir, where publications need special permission from the regional government to operate and pro-independence publications are generally prohibited.
Press Council and newspaper regulation
Prior to 2002, News Agencies in Pakistan were completely unregulated. Established under the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance in October 2002, the body operates on a semi-autonomous nature along with an Ethical Code of Practice signed by President Musharraf. It is mandated with multi-faceted tasks that range from protection of press freedom to regulatory mechanisms and review of complaints from the public.
However, the Press Council never came into operation due to the reservations of the media organisations. In protest over its establishment, the professional journalists organisations refrained from nominating their four members to the Council. Nevertheless, the chairman was appointed, offices now exist and general administration work continues. This has led the government to review the entire Press Council mechanism.
The Press Council Ordinance has a direct link to the Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Ordinance (PNNABRO) of 2002. This legislation deals with procedures for registration of publications of criteria of media ownerships.
Among the documents required for the permit or 'Declaration' for publishing a newspaper is a guarantee from the editor to abide by the Ethical Code of Practice contained in the Schedule to the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance. Though the Press Council procedure has made silenced or paralysed, these forms of interlinking laws could provide the government with additional means for imposing restrictions and take draconian actions against newspapers. The PNNABRO, among many other requirements demands that a publisher provides his bank details. It also has strict controls and regulations for the registering procedure. It not only demands logistical details, but also requires detailed information on editors and content providers.
Ownership of publications (mainly newspapers and news agencies) is restricted to Pakistani nationals if special government permission is not given. In partnerships, foreign involvement cannot exceed 25 percent. The law does not permit foreigners to obtain a 'Declaration' to run a news agency or any media station.
Pakistan's major news agencies include:
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- ^"Cable operators urge PEMRA to shut down Geo", The Express Tribune, 17 May 2014.
- ^"Pakistan's Geo News becomes latest target in blasphemy accusation trend", Jon Boone, The Guardian, 22 May 2014.
- ^"Pakistan Is Asked to Shut Down News Channel", Declan Walsh and Salman Masoodapril, New York Times, 22 April 2014.
- ^"Pakistan’s most popular Geo channels shut down", Ahmad Noorani, The News International, 22 May 2014.
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- ^"The India-Pakistan Thaw Continues", Simon Robinson, Time, 10 March 2008.
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