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Muslims welcome Church message

Catholic radio station's fans meet and talk about their appreciation

Father Nadeem John Shakir (left) with six meter fan letter. Father Nadeem John Shakir (left) with six meter fan letter.
  • ucanews.com reporter, Lahore
  • Pakistan
  • October 10, 2011
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More than 80 people from all over the country attended the 11th listeners' conference of Radio Veritas Asia (RVA)’s Urdu language service in Lahore yesterday.

Father Roberto Ebisa, general manager of RVA, joined a retired archbishop and two other priests for the event at the National Catholic Recording studio in Lahore.

Participants offered poetic tributes, praised RVA programs and said they appreciated the club visits. A listener’s club also presented a six meter long fan letter to Father Nadeem John Shakir, the studio director.

“I feel like I lost something on any day I miss the programs. The country’s situation is crying out for peace and friendship, the motto of the service”, said Liaqat Ali Awan, the only RVA listener from northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Awan hails from Dera Ismail Khan, which has in the last few years experienced the highest ratio of Shia killings in the country. “Our listener’s club has 25 Muslim members who listen and review Church radio every day. Its best feature is that the programs speak [to everyone] irrespective of religions”, he said.

Father Shakir also recounted visiting Muslim families with Filipino Father Ebisa in three cities of Punjab province on his first visit to the country.

“We were welcomed for food despite the pardah (gender segregation) system dominant in society”, said Father Shakir, adding that one family once tried to present the RVA reception monitor with a pair of goats in “appreciation of our services” a few years ago.

The program concluded with a Q&A panel discussion in which the listeners complained of poor reception in winter and delay in postage of newsletters and replies to fan mail. They also suggested longer transmissions and inclusion of live calls in the 27 minute daily transmission.

“As short wave radio, we are dependent on atmospheric conditions”, replied Father Ebisa, adding that the service will soon make use of social networking websites to engage more  listeners.

The RVA's Urdu service, headed for its silver jubilee next August, is presently airing 13 morning and evening programs in Pakistan and neighboring India.

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