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Pakistani Leaders Visit Deewa Radio, Call it 'Very Effective'

Service broadcasts 9 hours of news and information programs daily

Washington, D.C., October 7, 2009 - Visiting leaders from Pakistan toured the Washington facilities of Deewa Radio (Radio Light), with several participating in a call-in show produced by the Voice of America's (VOA) popular Pashto radio service for the war-torn Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

"I pay tribute to Deewa for its role, and it is very effective," said parliamentarian Jafar Shah from the North West Frontier Province in the Swat area.

The group of 25 parliamentarians, government officials, and civil society leaders represented Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Pakistan's troubled North West Frontier Province and tribal areas. The group was sponsored by the Center for Enterprise and Capacity Development at the Academy for Educational Development (AED). As part of their U.S. visit, the group requested a visit to VOA Deewa Radio.

"I can tell you everybody listens to radio in that part of the world," said Muhammad Sher, head of the USAID-funded project of AED and "Experience America," a student exchange program for tribal youth. "Deewa is on top in the list."

Along with news, Deewa provides information about health, shelter, food, social issues, education, science and culture. The program reaches people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and elsewhere.

Three of the visitors participated in the live call-in show Sahar Pa Khair (Good Morning) and took questions from callers.

Yousaf Rahim, a high-ranking official of the Bajaur Agency, spoke about the government's donor-assisted infrastructure development efforts, particularly for water, schools, and roads. Muhammad Sher spoke about international aid to tribal areas and student exchange programs. Jafar Shah said the provincial government has begun rebuilding broken institutions in the Swat area, and all arrested Taliban leaders will be brought to trial.

Shuakt Saleem, a lawyer from Swat, told the Deewa staff, "You are doing a great job, you must be proud of it."

Deewa Radio is distributed on shortwave, AM, FM, and online:

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S.Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages. VOA is the leading U.S. international broadcaster.

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