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Why can’t Pakistan welcome innovation?

Why can't our country celebrate happiness?  Just because our tribal areas nurture so-called terrorism and our corrupt government keeps on inflicting various economic pressures, we cannot welcome anything pleasant? Now you all must be wondering where is this coming from? Well, this outburst is a result of discussion I had on an online forum last week.

Few days back I had learnt how Indian Direct-To-Home Company Dish TV was getting installed illegally in thousands of households in Pakistan. The illegal broadcast of Dish TV results in million US dollars going to India. And what do we get in return? Around 80 channels out of which 60 are in Indian regional languages.  But people are happy to view the remaining 15-something channels and supporting Indian content. After learning about this horrendous state in the broadcast industry I started a debate on social media platform. And I was welcomed by an array of comments. The commentators very conveniently ignored the real topic which was the impending inauguration of DTH in Pakistan and starting to debate on the fact that a country as poor as Pakistan has more important issues to deal with rather than installing DTH. I was shocked!

Let me quote an example. My maid, whose husband expired eleven years ago, has 7 children. She earns 5000 per month from us. One of her sons works as a barber and two daughters also serve as servants. The total earning of the entire family is around 15000. They pay the bills and feed themselves out of this amount. But in such limited resources they have still subscribed to cable connections. I inquired her once that how come she is paying the bill for cable when she cannot fulfill basic necessities of life. She answered very matter-of-factly that TV is the only source of happiness and entertainment for my children. Paying 300 per month for the only happiness my children can afford is something I would never stop doing.

I did the math and came to the conclusion that an average Pakistani does not mind paying 300 for cable TV. Then why people would raise eyebrows if DTH is introduced in Pakistan. The minimum DTH charges per month are between 400-500rs. The difference is just of a hundred buck. And believe you me; our nation does not work logically. Let’s take another example. Try visiting international food chains and local clothing stores in Pakistan on weekends.  Crossroads, River stone etc are crowded with people who may have bundles of financial problems in their family but this would not stop them from purchasing at least one clothing item. And why is this? This pattern was not present a decade ago. The answer is just one word i.e. media.

Media has spread awareness enormously. It is because of media, the youth and women of this country have become so informed on all levels be it politics, economics and so on so forth. And DTH is nothing but an advancement and extension in the broadcast industry and media. So why say no to it?

It has become a matter of common observation that every time some innovative idea gets generated in our country, it gets condemned heavily.  When the Punjab Government came up with Metro Bus, there was a major chunk of people who criticized the project. They were of the view that government should pay attention to providing basic necessities to the common man instead of improving mode of commutation. Later the same people changed their views. Because Metro Bus system is  extremely cheap as compared to taxis and rikshaws etc.

I think the same will happen when DTH will come to Pakistan. They very same people who are against the idea will be the first consumers of it. And why should they not be? Who would mind undisrupted, high quality and customized TV connection? In my opinion, it is about time we as a nation should demand DTH services from the government. Each day a new channel emerges on TV. If PEMRA is so active in giving license every now and then, then why is the process of activation of DTH so slow?  Is the delay a result of some propaganda and planning? If yes, then let us all raise a voice against this delay and revolutionize our home entertainment for once and forever!

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