WFP to increase communities’ resilience in FATA through seasonal livelihood program

By Tayyeb Afridi 
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in collaboration with other partners is implementing the government of Japan USD 0.5 million funded project to support seasonal livelihood program in erstwhile FATA to eradicate poverty, end malnutrition, and improve quality of lives of the repatriated populations.
The project was officially announced by the Secretary for Livelihood and Production Department, Abdul Latif, and the Ambassador of Japan in Pakistan,  Mr Takashi Kurai, during a press event in Islamabad last week.
In order to develop a sustainable model that can later be handed over to government of Pakistan, WFP will work out a strategy to enable local people to have relevant expertise, knowledge and skills to grow their own food and take care of their family needs during challenging environment, WFP country director Mr. Finbarr Curran tells Tribal New Network during an interview about the project.
While explaining the concept of seasonal livelihood program Mr. Curran says livelihood means enabling local people by giving them expertise, knowledge, quality seeds or whatever it takes so that they can establish their farms, grow their own food and have access to the market. So livelihood support is to make sure people have expertise to grow food not only for themselves but also for communities around them.
One of the components of this project is to gather Information and create centralized data hub that will help in mitigating risks and understanding the socio-economic status of the communities to produce “risk-informed planning tool to identify interventions suited to a variety of contexts and time frames”.
WFP will work with larger communities to identify needs of the communities and develop a strategy on delivering livelihood skills, humanitarian and development interventions so that people in the tribal districts can establish and support their lives by growing food in hostile environment he says while elaborating on the role of WFP in the project.
That is why WFP engages for longer term in areas such as erstwhile FATA that has witnessed conflict and now vulnerable to disasters, Mr Curran says after developing resilience of farmers and growers, the chances of eradicating poverty, and ending malnutrition will increase manifold.
Apart from WFP, Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) is also active in Pakistan and implementing projects in erstwhile FATA related to food security and improving resilience of local people.
To differentiate between the roles of the two UN agencies, Mr. Curran says that FAO looks at agricultural policies, agriculture farms, quality of seeds, whereas WFP looks at feeding people and identifying and providing nutritious food. “In fact, they work together very well on projects, for example, WFP work with FAO to help farmers grow the type of food that they believe is nutritious and healthy”, he remarks.
According to him, some people look at UN as a combination of lots of organisations that intervene in each other areas but that is not the case.
At UN, these agencies are trying to create projects that leverage each other expertise and ultimately handover projects to government because they believe once you establish a livelihood program you are in position to withdraw for government, he concludes.

No mention of women rights protection in Interim Governance Regulation for FATA

By Tayyeb Afridi 
ISLAMABAD: Farhatullah Babar, Secretary General of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has asked the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to review and amend the Interim Governance Regulation (IGR) because it lacked clarity on women rights, holding of local bodies election and extension of judiciary. The IGR was promulgated by the previous government under which erstwhile Fata would be governed until it passed through transitional period.
The former senator was talking to Tribal News Network (TNN) on the sidelines of the roundtable conference titled Integrating Fata into KP and the challenges ahead, organised by Tribal Youth Organisation in Islamabad Riphah University.
The roundtable was attended by Minister for Religious Affairs, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, MNA Munir Orakzai, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir and many journalists, development experts, and tribal male and female students.
To a question that there is no woman in the task force constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan for identifying and removing impediments in the reforms process, he said there is even no mention of protecting women rights in the regulations governing Fata. While explaining it further, he said that there are customs under which women are ‘sold’ or being given as compensation to resolve conflicts, and codifying or providing legal cover to such customs runs contrary to human rights and women rights in particular.
Regarding extension of judiciary, he said, it needed to be elaborated because as per this regulation, all the judicial powers are being given to deputy commissioners.The legal experts also voiced concerns regarding unclear roadmap on how to establish and run higher courts in the tribal areas amid call for accommodating customs and traditions.
Mr. Farhatullah Babar said there is also no roadmap for local bodies election in the regulations and in order to hold this election in the erstwhile Fata, the government of KP needs to amend the IGR. He added that neither the National Assembly nor the prime minister could stand in the way of provincial assembly if it decides to go ahead with the changes. However, whenever the provincial assembly of KP takes this step, “it will become clear who is against the mainstreaming of Fata”.

KP-FATA Is Likely To Be Worst Victim Of Climate Change

By Tayyeb Afridi 
The country has just awakened to the fact that climate change is happening and water shortage is one of its adverse impacts and some of us have asked again that why Kalabagh dam was not built in the first place.
If I may ask that why on earth there is only one place in Pakistan that should have dam. Can’t we have dams elsewhere in Pakistan? This was a stupid idea not to construct other dams because of Kalabagh as if it was the only option we have had. We all know this has been politicised badly and it won’t help even a technocrat comes up with facts and figures in support of it. It is not going to build in next 20 years or so until someone comes up with an idea that benefit local people and concerned provinces that claims royalty.
Anyways, this is still early that we realised there are other places as well that can be used for constructing dams. Thanks to chief justice of Pakistan- at least on this front- who brought scarcity of water as an issue to limelight in Pakistan. Indeed, the chief has solved a million dollars question as many governments failed on how to take decision regarding building other dams such as Diamer-Basha and Mohmand.
According to experts in Agriculture University Peshawar, the temperature in KP have raised 1.5 Celsius since 1990 and it will further raise by 1.5 Celsius which is an indication that weather patterns are changing drastically for all districts in KP except Chitral and Upper Dir.
It is not only the water that is at risk, our agriculture, soil, forest, livestock, and fisheries are also at grave risk and so far nothing significant has been done on part of governments in all provinces except a billion trees plantation drive in KP which was doubted by many but still it was pursued by PTI’s government and appreciated by environmental organisations at International level.
In KP, the seasonal shifts are already being experienced as winters are getting shorter and summer longer. The shift indeed has implications on crop production and water availability.
One of the scary news is that KP will come under monsoon corridor till 2030 as per experts in Agriculture University and it will have no or very rare rainfall during winter season, causing problem for winter crops.
There will be, on other hand, heavy rainfall in summer causing flash floods which will damage wheat crops-a major crop that we grow, consume and export it to the only country of the world i.e. Afghanistan. No one else wants our wheat because it isn’t as much nutritious as it is in other countries.
In such a situation if we don’t have dams we won’t be able to store water. The excessive rainfall in summer could destroy farming lands, leaving it unproductive and there is possibility of floods that could destroy villages as we have seen in 2010.
We need to find ways to timely adapt so as to tap on opportunities and reduce negative impacts on soil, food, and water. We also need technology-based assessment that should lead to adoption of new technology, which is necessary for water and agriculture products. It’s now a job of the government -not people- to find ways and tape on opportunities.
I do appreciate the current government for not forcing people into donations for Dams. Otherwise, there were ‘experts’ advising government to impose a particular tax like the one we had for TV. Whether we benefit or not from Pakistan Television (PTV), we have to pay 35 rupees in each electricity bill as a moral duty to keep national television alive. Whether that should be the case with dams is definitely arguable.

Australia lunches 6 Million AUD project to provide reproductive health support to Afghan Refugees Women in Pakistan's Border Region

Tayyeb Afridi 
PESHAWAR: Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Dr Sharman Stone says there can’t be any honour in killing anybody in the name of honor particularly women and girls.                  
“Any murdering of individual whether it’s your daughter, your neighbour, someone you know and someone you don’t know, we don’t call it honour. There is no honour in killing anybody. We call it murder!” Dr Stone said in an exclusive interview with TNN.
Dr Stone, a former member of Australian parliament, who was on a three-day visit to Islamabad, launched a $6 million Australian Dollars’ project ‘Saving Lives of Women and Girls in Cross Border Area in Pakistan’ and also the gender-based strategy for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Pakistan.
Dr Stone is Australia’s third ambassador for women and girls. Her job is to go through Indo-Asia-pacific region which maybe called Australia’s neighbourhood, where she work with number of countries like Pakistan to pursue  shared goals such as greater equity and economic opportunities for women and girls.
“So here in Pakistan we have lot of grant moneys for example for schools and these are girls’ schools. I visited two schools – all girls – one we built with lot of classrooms and equipment and so on to try make sure the girls have the same opportunities to go to school and to excel as boys. I know we share this goal with Pakistani’s government itself whose constitution talks about equity for all,” she said.
To a question regarding culture difference,Dr Stone said that indeed we have very different countries in terms of culture, but we have very similar colonial background.“So we do understand each other. We both love cricket. We both have very dry countries and needing water. We feel partnering with Pakistan to help make sure women have greater equity, economic opportunity, reducing gender-based violence. These are the same goals we have it for ourselves in Australia. Perhaps we can all make this world a better place,” she said.
To a question about women’s reproductive health, she said if a woman and husband cannot manage how many children they have, the spaces between their children, they can end up with women being too many babies and the resources simply run out.
“There may not be enough food or enough piece of security to have very large families. We know that access to family planning in 21st century is not a difficult thing. We have lot of products and services that can help man and woman have access to family planning. It safeguards the health of mother and the children and off-course now Pakistan has got a huge population of over 200 million,” she said.
She mentioned that Australia was a huge country but it is mostly desert, so it watches out population very carefully. About the healthcare project for Afghan women in Pakistan’s border region, she said Australia is working in partnership with Pakistani government and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reach out afghan women living in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The idea is for work in these border regions where a lot of families have had conflict, disruption of their lives and have had to be displaced from their homes and they’re not living in safe and suitable accommodations, so this 6 million (AUD) is to help with family planning, health support, and also to make sure if that woman is looking for family planning she doesn’t have to go too far, she doesn’t have to spend a lot of money, we want to help those families on the ground where they face real trauma,” she said.
While responding to a question about intervention strategy, Dr Stone said the UNFPA is very experienced in its work. “What we always make sure we do is to work with local people, local midwives, local health service professionals, because they are on the ground and trusted by the local families. So off-course we have to work closely with local people,” she said.
To a question about challenges for women to enter politics, she said that in democracies such as Pakistan or Australia, it is not easy to be elected, whether a man or woman, older or young. But for women it is especially challenging.She said that In Pakistan, the women ratio in the parliament is 3 or so percent because people have elected 8 women on contest seats . In Asia-Pacific, the average is about seven or so women in the parliament. In the northern hemisphere, we are looking at 30 to 40 percent of the average number of women in the parliament. Australia is only about 27 to 30 percent of women in the parliament. We are not doing well enough because our goal is to see as many women in the parliament as men, which is 50/50.
Dr Stone said democracy needs to represent its people. She said half of the people in Pakistan and Australia are women. “So why wouldn’t you have fifty percent women in the parliament? Now obviously we are long way from it. Women often have to convince men that they have place in the parliament. It’s not a tradition to see women in the parliament. Women often too have a lot of other roles like child responsibility, from caring perhaps the aging parents, to disabled ones,” she said.
In Australia, she said, child care is very expensive so for women who’s got young children going to parliament is difficult, fund raising for women to campaign is more difficult than man usually.
“So far all those reasons, it is hard but that doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t keep persisting and just coming from the school this morning some of the brightest young women in those schools who were school leaders were saying we want to be politician,” she said.
She said the young women are the future of Pakistan. And as is case in Australia, the young women finishing the secondary schooling want to be women in the parliament and that is magnificent. The democracies will be much better when they have got more women in the parliament. It’s about partnering for democracy and not as a woman overtaking man,” she concluded.

Tribal News Network in Pakistan will start producing local news for mobile phones

Photo courtesy by Hani Tah
The radio and online news outlet Tribal News Network (TNN) in Pakistan reports on areas and topics which the mainstream Pakistani media usually overlook. TNN news bulletins are currently broadcast on local radio stations in the local language, Pushto, and online in Pushto, Urdu and English. Soon listeners will be able to simply call a number on their mobile phones to listen to TNN news bulletins.

Tayyeb Afridi, the co-founder and director of TNN, emphasized the importance of the new mobile phone news bulletins: “Lots of people in rural areas and in some urban areas don't have access to a landline phone or to television. But they have a mobile phone, especially in the Tribal Areas, to speak to relatives and family members.”

TNN was established in 2013 to produce independent news in Pushto for the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northwestern Pakistan, and the nearby Tribal Areas along the border with neighbouring Afghanistan. In troubled Pakistan, mainstream news outlets focus heavily on politics and security issues. TNN however makes a point of reporting also on developments in health, education, business and culture. Tayyeb Afridi, the director of TNN, talks about the impact the organization is having, the new mobile phone news bulletins, and a documentary about the news outlet broadcast internationally on Al Jazeera television.

What is TNN about and how is it developing?

“In 2013, we started producing news bulletins for local radio stations. These five-minute daily news bulletins are broadcast by a number of local radio stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Tribal Areas. We also have radio partners in eastern Afghanistan, so our bulletins are broadcast there as well. Furthermore, we also train local radio reporters, for example in radio skills and in physical and digital security.
What makes us different from other media is our focus on local news. The mainstream media focus on security issues and ignore social issues in the rural areas. Our focus is broader, so development and good governance, for example, are important topics for us.
Now we're going to produce news bulletins which can be listened to on a simple mobile phone. We're going to produce hourly news bulletins of 2 minutes, every day between 8am and 8pm.”

Why is it an advantage to broadcast your bulletins via mobile phone?

“Mobile penetration in Pakistan is excellent, and now it is increasing in the Tribal Areas because mobile companies have extended their coverage to these far- flung areas. In the last few years, mobile penetration has dramatically risen. Moreover, our news bulletins will be available free of charge. The production of news bulletins for mobile phones will give us the opportunity to offer our news bulletins to a wider audience.”

In the 25-minute documentary that Al Jazeera television broadcast recently about your organization, one of the highlights is the fact that TNN is one of the few media outlets in your area of Pakistan that employs women. Can you elaborate on that?

“In the Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, women can't always work or go to school, or can't leave the house without covering their faces. It is very unusual to find female reporters in our conservative part of Pakistan.
We started an internship for female reporters. At the moment, our assistant-producer and six of our 35 reporters are women. I think it is important to have female journalists -- they can get access to stories that men cannot report on.”

Do your stories also help the communities you report on?

“Change in the communities is an important aspect of our project. If people have a problem, for example, water shortages or problems with the electricity, they text or call us. Our reporters talk with the responsible representatives and report about the issue.

A good example of a report that made a difference was the story of a female student who had topped the Education Board exams and, as per government policy, she became eligible to receive a scholarship from the government for further education. But she was denied that for a few months for no reason. She sent a text to us complaining that she had not been given a scholarship. Our reporter contacted the Minister of Education and he took strong notice of this news and directed the education authorities to award a scholarship as promised by the government. She received her scholarship within two weeks.”

This interviewed appeared on Free Press Unlimited Website:

The Story Behind 'Good Morning Pakistan'

At editorial meeting.

"When I entered Tayyeb Afridi’s office at the Tribal News Network in Peshawar, Pakistan, I remembered a brainstorm we once had with a group in the JSK Fellowships about the future of news. We had used Post-it notes to configure a complicated matrix of ideas that were going to solve the digital problems we faced in our newsrooms"

Here is full blog of Aela Callan published on JSK Knight fellowship website.

Time To Decide The Fate Of FATA

After the security situation somehow improved, the FATA Parliamentarians tabled the bill in the National Assembly seeking merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtukhwa (KP). The tabling of this bill actually highlighted once again the issue of FATA - whether it should be brought under the umbrella of parliament or left as it is to the prerogative of president, a ceremonial head of the state, who only controls FATA.

We have seen a lot of uproar in the past two months over social and conventional media about the fate of FATA. Social media users were rigorously using twitter hashtags of MergeFATAWithKP, FATAMerger, FATAMergerWithKP, taking to Facebook to share their views about FATA status. There was all of sudden this groundswell of opinion seen everywhere in FATA and KP as FATA Siyasi Ittehad (FSI) supported by Awami National Party (ANP), Jamat-i-Islami (JI) , Jamhori Watan Party (JWP), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Peoples party took rallies to D-chowk of parliament to press for the merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Conventional media also carried many stories on this subject. But the crescendo of voices died just as suddenly as it had erupted. Why?

The FATA parliamentarians (yes, theoretically they are parliamentarian but practically they cannot even legislate for FATA) for whatever political reasons gave up on the proposed 22nd amendment tabled and pursued by them in the parliament and that happened after the government constituted a “special powered” committee with no members from FATA to decide the fate of the region.

Like always, someone else is deciding the fate of tribal areas in the presence of FATA representatives. That is why the FATA Siyasi Itehad (FSI) rejected the formation of this committee, while the FATA Grand Alliance (FGA)- an alliance of Maliks (tribal elders) welcomed it because they want an elected council or province for FATA and rejects merger of FATA with KP. Jamiat-ullema-e-Islam JUI (F) also rejects merger of FATA with KP.

The FGA and JUI (F) think that becoming part of KP will undermine importance of tribal traditions such as Jirga and other customs. What they don’t know or don’t want to know is that those living in KP are also Pakhtuns and has been happily exercising their traditions whether that is Jirga or anything else even under the umbrella of parliament. This sort of parallel system exists everywhere in Pakistan. For instance, take Punjab where you will find Panchayat. In Sindh, the Wadera system continues to exist. Aren’t they tribesmen having traditions? I guess nobody is saying we’re better than them.

And also this notion that tribal people are better – by way of tradition and values - than those living in KP is in fact racism. It hurts one to see even tribal educated folks saying that Pakhtuns in KP have compromised their traditions and they don’t want to be part of it. We don’t have to be rocket scientists to know that Pakhtuns living in KP are better educated with more schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, courts, playgrounds, and far better established infrastructure which is being used by people from tribal areas since ages.

So what is the best possible scenario?

If the government makes the tribal areas a part of KP, the tribal people will get rid of centuries old draconian law known as Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) that prohibits freedom of expression and speech and this will ultimately contribute to information economy, which is absent in this region since becoming part of the country.

If the government makes it a part of KP, the tribal people will get out of the isolation syndrome that is preventing them from change and thus they will embrace physical and emotional development.

By becoming part of KP, the almost 10 million population of tribal areas will add to KP and that will increase the province's share in the NFC Award because it goes to the provinces on the basis of population.The mainstreaming will open up FATA to business, tourism, communication, if not immediately, at least after a few years and people will experience a positive change.

KP and FATA share a common ethnicity and therefore they understand each other well because many tribesmen from Bajaur to South Waziristan have been living in KP for many years and for many reasons.Also geographically, KP and FATA are connected and dependent on each other for education, health, business, and communication.

If someone has to go to Orakzai from Bajaur, he has to go through Peshawar and Kohat as there is no direct road between these two. And there is even no direct road that connects all agencies. Making such road is next to impossible because one has to break the mountains that are separating agencies.

In case of having FATA as a separate province from KP, there will be disputes on which agency will be the capital of FATA and that could be tough decision to make. The FATA areas even don’t have their own civil servants and they borrow it from KP. And finally, now the military establishment also likes to see the fate of FATA decided because the local administration has badly failed to counter radicalism and militancy.

The best possible scenario available at this time for FATA is to merge with KP. And if the FATA Parliamentarians invoked the 22nd amendment and passed it from the parliament, they will be remembered as saviors of FATA in the days to come.

Regi Model Project in Peshawar Yet To See The Light Of Day

Photo courtesy: By Regi Bachavo Tehrik 

By Tayyeb Afridi
Started 25 years back by the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA), Regi Model Town project has yet to see the light of the day—thanks to the successive provincial governments who failed to materialize the biggest housing project of the provincial metropolis.

Land dispute with the locals besides construction of an approach road are stated to be the main obstacles in the way of this mega 27,000-house project. “Actually, this land was not properly acquired by PDA” said Ali Akbar, vice chairman of the Movement for Saving Regi Model Town. Had it been acquired properly there would have been no disputes, he added.

The claims of the residents of Regi village and its adjacent Kokikhel tribe over the land could be addressed if the government was serious to resolve the issue. This is why, Ali Akbar said, two zones of the project—Zone 2 and Zone 5—stand disputed. However, there is no controversy over 1,3,4 zones of the housing project.

Apart from land disputes, there is no direct approach road to the township. Earlier, a link road through Kacha Garhi was planned as without this road the project will be a sheer failure.Over the last 24 years, the cost of the project has also increased manifold. At the time of planning its estimated cost was Rs. 7 billion but now it has jumped to Rs. 35 billion.
Perhaps that is the reason PDA is not building any school, hospital, or playground in the undisputed zones, said Arsala Khan, a member of the Movement for Saving Regi Model Town.

Started in 1991, the project came to the limelight in 2000, when Malik Saad, then PDA director general, accelerated development work on Regi, restoring the confidence of the people to invest in this township. However, his transfer from to another department once again delayed the much-needed project.
Subsequently in 2008, the Awami National Party (ANP) government also demonstrated lack of political will to continue development work on this project and resolve land disputes. Instead, they floated the idea of establishing a new housing project—Asfandyar Township.

The residents of Peshawar pinned high hopes on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to treat this project fairly as they came in power with a slogan of change and good governance. But so far no significant progress on this project could be witnessed. However, like previous governments, PTI has also constituted a committee to resolve land disputes.

It was expected that after successfully handling Hayatabad Township to owners, the PDA will be able to make this biggest housing project a success but the dream is yet to be materialized.

Free Press Unlimited Recognizes TNN in the Geuzenpenning award

Representation of TNN at the Stichting Geuzenpenning award

In 2015, TNN was recognised by the The Geuzenpennning Foundation (Stichting Geuzenpenning) as a tribute to individuals or institutions that have “devoted themselves to fighting for democracy or against dictatorship, discrimination and racism.

BBC Urdu Reports on Tribal News Network

Presenter at TNN recording news bulletin. Photo courtesy Hani Taha

BBC Story on Tribal News Network 
’دا دے ٹی این این خبرونہ دی۔ زہ یم ناہید جہانگیر (یہ ٹی این این کی خبریں ہیں، میں ہوں ناہید جہانگیر۔۔۔‘
پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقوں میں بیٹھ کر پاکستان کے غیرسرکاری اور نجی نشریاتی ادارے کی جانب سے تیار کی گئی ایسی خبریں یقیناً اس خطے کے لوگوں کے لیے اچھی تبدیلی ہے۔ پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقوں اور خیبر پختونخوا میں ایک دہائی سے زائد عرصے سے جنگ صرف بندوق کے زور پر نہیں لڑی جا رہی بلکہ معلومات کی فراہمی یا عدم فراہمی کے ذریعے بھی مدد لی جا رہی ہے۔
قبائلی علاقوں میں آزاد میڈیا آج بھی ایک خواب ہے جس کی تعبیر حاصل کرنے کی کوشش پشاور کی ایک نجی تنظیم نے کی ہے۔
اب تک اس علاقے کے لاکھوں کی آبادی کو معلومات کے حصول کے لیے یا تو سرکاری ریڈیو یا پھر غیرملکی نشریاتی اداروں پر انحصار کرنا پڑتا تھا۔ جن علاقوں میں شدت پسندی کا مسئلہ ہے، وہیں معلومات سے متعلق خلا بھی موجود ہے۔
بلوچستان اور قبائلی علاقوں میں معلومات کو پاکستان کے مرکزی دھارے کے میڈیا نے آج تک نظر انداز کیا ہے۔ ان کی ضروریات کیا ہیں اور کیسے پوری کی جا سکتی ہیں اس پر کم ہی دھیان دیا گیا ہے۔
مقامی میڈیا سرے سے موجود ہی نہیں۔ شدت پسندی سے متاثرہ علاقوں میں مقامی میڈیا کا پنپنا ابھی بھی مشکل ہے۔ ٹرائیبل نیوز نیٹ ورک نامی ایک غیرسرکاری نجی تنظیم نے قبائلی علاقوں اور خیبر پختونخوا میں ریڈیو کے لیے یہ انوکھی سروس شروع کی ہے۔
پشاور میں قائم ٹرائبل نیوز نیٹ ورک ان علاقوں میں نجی ایف ایم ریڈیو سٹیشنوں کو پشتو زبان میں دن میں دو مرتبہ مفت خبریں مہیا کرتا ہے۔ ٹی این این کے روح رواں اور بانی طیب آفریدی کہتے ہیں قبائلی لوگوں میں بھی حالات و واقعات سے اپنے آپ کو باخبر رکھنے کا اتنا ہی شوق ہے جتنا کسی اور خطے کے انسان کا ہوگا۔
’انھیں کسی آزاد مقامی نیوز ریڈیو چینل کی کمی کا سامنا ہے جو ان کو متوازن اور تنقیدی پہلو کو سامنے رکھتے ہوئے خبریں مہیا کر سکے۔ سرکاری ریڈیو کے علاوہ اب فوج کے تعلقات عامہ کے ادارے آئی ایس پی آر اور فرنٹیئر کور کے ریڈیو آئے ہیں لیکن وہ تفریح پر زیادہ توجہ دیتے ہیں۔ ٹی این این بنانے کا بنیادی مقصد یہی تھا کہ اس کمی کو انھی کے علاقے سے پورا کیا جا سکے۔‘
یہ ادارہ فی الوقت پانچ ایف ایم چینلوں کو یہ بلٹین مہیا کر رہا ہے۔ نجی ایف ایم سٹیشنوں کو خبریں چلانے پر ابتدا میں آمادہ کرنا طیب آفریدی کے لیے مشکل مرحلہ تھا۔ وہ خود بھی بیرونی امداد سے یہ منصوبہ چلا رہے ہیں۔
’ہمارے پاس اتنے پیسے نہیں تھے کہ ان کو دیتے یا ان کا ایئر ٹائم خرید سکتے۔ تو ہم نے بتایا کہ آپ اگر خبریں خود تیار کریں گے تو وسائل چاہیے ہوں گے، ہم آپ کو ان خبروں کے بدلے ریڈیو کی تربیت دیں گے جس پر وہ تیار ہو گئے۔‘
اس خبر رساں ادارے کے قیام کا بنیادی مقصد قبائلی عوام کو تنقیدی خبریں فراہم کرنا ہے تاکہ وہ اپنے سماجی اور سیاسی موضوعات پر بہتر انداز میں بات کر سکیں۔
خیبر ایجنسی میں تہذیب نامی ریڈیو سٹیشن بھی خبریں نشر کرتا ہے۔
اس چینل کے ایاز رضا آفریدی سے یہ خبریں نشر کرنے کی وجہ جاننا چاہی: ’اس سے ہمارے سامعین کی تعداد بڑھی ہے اور ہمیں تیار خبریں مل جاتی ہیں۔ قبائلی علاقوں میں نہ تو کیبل ہے اور نہ ٹی وی، اخبار بھی دیر سے پہنچتا ہے۔ تو ہمارے لیے مارکٹنگ کی تربیت بھی بہت ضروری ہے۔‘
شدت پسندی سے متاثرہ علاقوں میں پاکستانی سکیورٹی ادارے غیر ملکی سٹیشنوں کو موقع نہیں دینا چاہتے۔ ان کا کہنا ہے کہ عسکری جنگ کے ساتھ ساتھ وہ نفسیاتی جنگ بھی لڑ رہے ہیں جس میں غیر ملکی اداروں کا کوئی کام نہیں۔
تاہم اس مقامی لوگوں کے لیے مقامی سٹیشن کے ذریعے مقامی خبروں کا امتزاج کیا رنگ دکھا رہا ہے۔ میں نے خیبر ایجنسی کے ہی چند باسیوں سے دریافت کیا تو ان میں سے اکثر نے موسم کا حال، شوبز نیوز اور زیادہ مقامی خبروں کا تقاضا کیا۔
اس منصوبے کے لیے غیرملکی امداد ہمیشہ کے لیے نہیں۔ لہٰذا طیب مستقبل کے بارے میں بھی سوچ رہے ہیں: ’ہم تین چار منصوبوں پر کام کر رہے ہیں۔ ان میں سے ایک اشتہاری کمپنیوں سے سپانسر حاصل کرنا، دوسرا اپنے پروڈکشن ہاؤس میں دیگر اداروں کے لیے خصوصی پرگرام تیار کرنا اور موبائل صارفین کو انتہائی کم رقم کے عوض یہی خبریں فراہم کرنا بھی شامل ہے۔‘
ایم ایم پارٹنرز کا ہمیشہ یہ موقف رہا ہے کہ وہ کسی کی خبریں کیوں چلائیں۔ تہذیب ریڈیو کے ایاز آفریدی کہتے ہیں اگر پیسے دینے پڑے خبروں کے لیے تو پھر اس وقت دیکھیں گے۔
وانا سے لے کر دیر تک سنے جانے والے اس انوکھے تجربے کے لیے مستقبل میں چیلنج بہت ہیں۔ دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ معاشی اور سرکاری دشواریوں کے بیچ میں یہ کیسے قبائلیوں کی ضرویات پوری کر پائے گا۔