Friday, May 12, 2023
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History goes up in smoke as PTI protesters set Radio Pakistan Peshawar on fire

Rampage left a trail of extensive damage as demonstrators vented their frustrations through acts of vandalism, looting

In the aftermath of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's arrest on May 9, infuriated party activists took to the streets in several cities across the country, vehemently protesting their leader's arrest.

Peshawar was one of the cities where supporters of PTI unleashed havoc. In the city, protestors stormed the historic Radio Pakistan building and went on a vandalising rampage that culminated in setting the building ablaze.

A view of the Radio Pakistan building and vehicle after they were set to fire by angry PTI protestors after the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — INP
A view of the Radio Pakistan building and vehicle after they were set to fire by angry PTI protestors after the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — INP

Angry protesters not only set fire to the historic building but also plundered it.

The charred interior of the building shows extensive damage as the arson followed vandalism and looting.

The resulting inferno consumed irreplaceable records and other invaluable items, resulting in significant losses.

A man walks inside the burnt Radio Pakistan building a day after protests by PTI activists and supporters in Peshawar on May 11, 2023. — AFP
A man walks inside the burnt Radio Pakistan building a day after protests by PTI activists and supporters in Peshawar on May 11, 2023. — AFP

The radio station, which dates back to 1935, holds a prominent place in history.

It telecast the monumental news of Pakistan's formation on August 14, 1947, in both Pashto and Urdu languages.

Throughout the years, the station continued to serve as a vital source of information, particularly during critical moments such as the 1965 Pak-India war and the Afghan conflict. Notably, Radio Pakistan's past reporting on acts of terrorism earned widespread acclaim.

A man stands inside the burnt auditorium of the Radio Pakistan building a day after protests by PTI party activists and supporters in Peshawar on May 11, 2023. — AFP
 A man stands inside the burnt auditorium of the Radio Pakistan building a day after protests by PTI party activists and supporters in Peshawar on May 11, 2023. — AFP

The present-day building that houses Radio Pakistan was inaugurated on April 28, 1985, by then-President General Ziaul Haque. 

Radio Pakistan's offices are housed on the first three floors of the building, while the topmost floor has the offices of the state news agency, APP, which too was damaged.