After Fawad Chaudhry: What Pakistani Sports Broadcasting Missed Out On
In 2018 then Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry made an announcement of the launch of PTV Sports 2 and HD cameras along with other state-of-the-art equipment for the coverage of sports events. This came as a very pleasant surprise for young sports fans who were campaigning for better coverage of sporting events in Pakistan for years. But this joy and elation was short-lived as Fawad Chaudhry was appointed minister for science and technology instead of information and broadcasting. When he abandoned the information ministry, his priorities and policies were dumped by the ministry officials.
Pakistan, perhaps, is the only country in the region which doesn’t have an HD sports channel. The good thing about Fawad Chaudhry is that he is au courant with the needs of modern-day requirements of a sports channel.
When he took office as info minister he was briefed that PTV Sports is the only revenue generating national channel – immediately he decided to upgrade and overhaul it. He was au fait with contemporary requirements of sports broadcasting. Not just this, but he had a personal interest in quality production of sporting events. As info minister, he wanted merit based appointments at PTV and Radio Pakistan and introduced a strategy to recheck degrees of all the employees falling under his ministry. This step was highly appreciated by all those familiar with affairs at Pakistan television in particular and many believe that people at the helm in PTV Sports must come clean on the allegations of holding fake degrees. Another good thing about him was that he believed in keeping people updated about the new developments and was open to new ideas as well. He was heaped with plaudits and admiration when he brought PTV Sports from conex to FTA but it didn’t last long and the decision was withdrawn when he abandoned the ministry. Fawad Chaudhry’s plan of launching PTV Sports 2 has also been thrown in the cold storage as there isn’t even mention of these issues after him.
Not just this: he was also very keen on improving the quality of sports broadcasting along with commentary. But sadly he didn’t have much time to carry out his projects.
He looked to be the right man for the right job and took a personal interest in bringing serious improvement to both Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan. His passion to upscale the broadcast was simply unparalleled among erstwhile info ministers. After all, generally, ministers don’t take much interest in these affairs. It seems that they don’t understand the significance of quality broadcasting either. But Mr Chaudhry turned out to be an exception.
If you talk to sports fans today, they seem distraught that the good days of the Fawad Chaudhry era are over and there is no one to cater to their desires. They feel most embarrassed when they see Indians on social media scoffing at the pathetic coverage by PTV Sports of domestic cricketing events in the country. Fawad Chaudhry planned to procure HD cameras as well, which are a prerequisite for an HD channel. Apart from equipment and technology, he was fully cognizant of the fact that a channel would flourish only if it is run by skilled and qualified labour. For this very reason he ordered degree verification for info ministry employees.
After him there is a complete lull. Little appears to be happening. Meanwhile, frustration is shooting through the roof.