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Joint VOA-Express 24/7 Program The Platform Debuts in Pakistan

Program focuses on key issues in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship

Voice of America and Pakistani cable news channel Express 24/7 aired The Platform for the first time on Monday, June 28. The 50-minute program, airing Mondays and Tuesdays in Pakistan at 11:05 p.m., is the first English-language television talk show to be jointly produced by stations in Pakistan and the U.S. The show will also be offered on the web with both live and on-demand streaming options. <!-- IMAGE -->

The Platform focuses on key issues in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship and the fight against terrorism. On Monday, Express 24/7’s Kamran Shahid was joined in Islamabad by Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin. Former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri also took part. VOA’s Niharika Acharya was joined in Washington, DC by former U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Stephen Cohen, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The inaugural program Monday centered on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Guests debated the historical relationship, the possibility of granting Pakistan greater access to U.S. markets, and the current bilateral relationship.

The U.S. guests agreed that Pakistan’s stability is vital to U.S. interests. Ambassador Azizuddin urged the U.S. to keep in mind that, in his words, “not every tribesman is a terrorist.”

Tuesday’s episode featured a debate over the U.S. military’s use of drone airplanes in Pakistan, a topic of tension between the two nations.

Munizae Jahangir of Express 24/7 was joined in Islamabad by Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, and Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. VOA’s Raza Naqwi was joined in Washington by Jamie McIntyre, former CNN Senior Pentagon and Military Affairs Correspondent and Peter Singer, the Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Hina Shamsi, New York University Professor and contributor to the UN’s report on drone use in Pakistan joined the discussion from New York.

by Guru Amrit Khalsa and Dan O’Connell