In recent years, a number of pirate radio stations have sprung up in Pakistan’s tribal areas, reports Mukhtar A. Khan in the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor (May 26).
It started with the establishment of an extremist Sunni radio station in 2003. Infuriated by the views spread on this station, a Sufi group then launched its own channel. The war of words resulted in bloody fighting on the ground. More FM channels opened propagating a variety of sectarian views. Radio has even been used for recruiting and organizing fighters, and its contribution to the radicalization of Pashtun society should not be overlooked, Mukhtar explains.
Both FM channels and FM radio sets are cheap locally, compared with other types of radio. Attempts have been made to launch counter-propaganda channels, but they seem to be successful only insofar as there is a local ownership.