Pakistan Television Corporation (Urdu: پاكِستان ٹیلی وژن نیٹ ورک‎; reporting name: PTV) is a public and commercial broadcasting television network, as well as a mass-media state-owned megacorporation, with headquarters at Islamabad, Pakistan.

Founded on 26 November 1964, by an international-sector organisation NEC,Japan under licence from the Government of Pakistan,[2] PTV was the first major televised media broadcasting network in Pakistan and currently operates under the government-ownership management of the Government of Pakistan.[2] Although it was originally under private-ownership management, the PTV was integrated under government-ownership in a nationalization programme in 1970, after failing to produce targeted revenue.[2] The PTV is one of the well-expanded broadcasting network infrastructure and media broadcasting divisions in the cities of Pakistan and abroad. For most of the twentieth century, the PTV enjoyed a dominant position in media outlets until the start of the twenty-first century and was one of the two major television networks in the country.

The end of PTV's monopoly in 2000 led to a boom in electronic media in Pakistan, which gained greater political influence in country's political spectrum. As of 2016, the PTV competes with the additional private television channels and remains an important asset of Government of Pakistan.


Historical context

The idea of establishing a media and television industry was conceived in late 1956 and created by the privately set up national education commission, with the support of President Ayub Khan.[2] In 1961, the private sector media mogul and industrialist Syed Wajid Ali launched a television industrial development project, bringing the role of an electrical engineer Ubaidur Rahman of Wajid Ali's Engineering Division as the project director of the first television station in Lahore.[2] Ali reached a milestone in 1961 after establishing a private television broadcasting company with the cooperation of Nippon Electric Company (NEC) of Japan and Thomas Television International of United Kingdom.[2]

In 1963, a public meeting was chaired by President Ayub Khan; in which the government made decisions about the Pakistan Television stations and the media industry in the country.[2] Since 1963, its headquarters are in Islamabad, near the Cabinet Secretariat. From 1961 to 1962, a television headquarters was established in Lahore and several pilot transmission tests were taken by Rahman's team. Subsequently a large number of television divisions were established throughout Pakistan by this team, including East-Pakistan.[2]

First-ever broadcast and private ownership

On 26 November 1964, after an introduction by Syed Wajid Ali, the first-ever news broadcast was done which was beamed as a black and white transmission by the PTV. The first programme, formatted by Thomas Television International, telecast amateur programmes with foreign films; the television division in the Punjab Province was established with the help of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Colombo Plan, and the Government of Japan.[2] Aslam Azhar (Sept 1932- 29 Dec 2015) was appointed the first Managing Director of Pakistan Television in charge of all the staffing requirements at the first PTV Lahore Center. This first Managing Director and executive Aslam Azhar is widely considered to be the "father of Pakistan Television".[3] Private industries commercials were permitted with no fee; initially all the commercials of industrial conglomerates were tax-free with no additional charges.[2]

The PTV remained under the private sector management with more than half of the shares were sold to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a fear that all shares would fall into the hands of government in the name of greater interest of the country.[2] President Ayub Khan appointed Ubaidur Rahman in the Ministry of Information to continue with the NEC joint venture collaboration in launching the PTV.

The project began with a tent on the back lot of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Lahore by Ubaidur Rahman where a transmission tower and a studio were constructed by his team. On 26 November 1964, President Ayub Khan inaugurated the first official television station commencing transmission broadcasts from Lahore, followed by Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1965 (then the capital of East Pakistan), a third centre was established in Rawalpindi and Islamabad in 1965 and the fourth in Karachi in 1966.[2] On 29 May 1967, a private company was established as Pakistan Television Corporation under the Company Act, 1913, whereas the private sector remained charged with broadcasting on the television.[2]

Nationalization of Pakistan Television

In 1971, the PTV was brought completely under the government ownership management under a nationalization programme in the administration of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and expanded its network infrastructure all over the country.[2] Later additional centres in Peshawar and Quetta were established by 1975. Originally broadcast in black and white, PTV began colour transmission in 1975.[4] With this new upgrade in techniques and equipment, the Pakistan Television Academy was founded and opened in 1987 to teach students who wished to work in the medium. As with the additional agreement, the government provided most of the funds while the private venture capitalists offered to fund the remainder. PTV launched a full-scale satellite broadcasting service in 1991–92; Digital TV satellite broadcasting was launched in 1999.[2]

Television programmes

During the decades of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, PTV dramas and teleplays were considered as the best in the South Asia. These included Khuda Ki Basti (1969–74), Unkahi (1982), Tanhaiyaan (1985), Aangan Terha, Fifty Fifty (1979–84), Studio Dhai (2-1/2), Studio Ponay Teen (2-3/4), Andehra Ujala (1984), Sona Chandi (1983), Uncle Urfi, Taleem-e-Baalighan, Alif Noon (1981–82), Waaris (1979), Dhoop Kinare (1987), Sunehray Din,Guest House Alpha Bravo Charlie, Ana, Akhri Chatan, Zair, Zabar, Pesh (1974–75) and block buster serials like Dhuwan, Kath Putli, Wafa Ham Nibhaein Gai, Bandhan, Kaghaz Kay Phool, Muqqdas, Bint-e-Adam, Malangi (2006), Sawan, Sheela Bagh, Tinkay, Aisa Bhi Hota Hai, Rasta De Zindagi, Chubhan, Kuch Lamhay, Khuwahesho Kay Sarab, and a large number of others.

State capital revenue

Unlike additional state-run corporations, Pakistan Television Corporation was allowed by the Government of Pakistan to raise a sizable amount of private capital to finance the stations. This includes a Rs. 35 per month TV fee charge to all consumers of electricity.[5]

Programming Policy

The broader perspective to start electronic media in the country was to inform and educate the people through wholesome entertainment and to inculcate in them a greater awareness of their own history, heritage, current problems and development as well as knowledge of the world at large.

In fulfilment of its broad and main objectives, PTV's telecast policy concerning matters of national and international interests has always been motivated and guided by the cardinal principles of educating viewers about the values that are vitally important in building a united, integrated and disciplined society. These objectives have successfully been achieved through programmes on religion, education, entertainment and culture.

The projection of new, emerging social order is highlighted in PTV's general programming, focusing directly and indirectly on themes like morality, civic or national responsibilities, drive against narcotics, environmental pollution, agricultural reforms etc. through discussions, shows, and through anchorpersons in the transmission.

PTV channels are family-oriented and the salient features of its policy are as follows:

  • PTV Corporation's broadcasts are family-oriented; they cater to the needs of local audience by showing "eastern" family programs.
  • It acts on social development theory of media: That’s why it shows informative programmes about health and social issues.
  • It censors commercials and holds a "conservative standard" as compared to additional privately owned channels.
  • It supports government policies on national and international matters.


PTV had been received via satellite in South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. Selected programming can be seen on a satellite channel named Prime TV (with a partnership with PTV) in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America until 22 April 2006. On 22 April 2006, Pakistan Television Corporation started broadcasting directly to the overseas viewers including the US. This remains true as of January 2016.

PTV operates the following channels:

  • PTV Home – (The original PTV) 24-hour entertainment channel, the transmission is broadcast across Pakistan on terrestrial network and worldwide through satellite. The content of the terrestrial and satellite channel is different, for example, terrestrial programming includes live telecast of Pakistan's cricket matches but satellite channel can't broadcast these matches.
  • PTV News – 24-hour news channel which can be viewed in a large number of parts of the globe.
  • PTV National – An emphasis on broadcasting programmes in different languages to represent the whole of Pakistan.
  • AJK TV – For the residents of Azad Kashmir.
  • PTV Bolan – For speakers of Balochi Pashto and Brahvi.
  • PTV Global – Offered exclusively for the Pakistani diaspora in the United States on Dish Network, and recently launched in Europe.
  • PTV Sports – a 24-hour sports channel that started from January 2012
  • PTV Sports 2
  • PTV Gold upcoming channel where classic dramas will be aired on.
  • PTV World – started as PTV-2 in 1992 as first satellite channel of Pakistan was given a new name of PTV World in 1998 and went off air in 2007, it was re-launched as a 24-hour English channel in January 2013.
  • PTV Prime (also known as Prime TV from 2002 to 2006), Prime TV had been a part of PTV Family from 1998 till 2005 as an exclusive broadcaster of PTV for Europe and North America.

Former Channels

  • Channel-3, a 24-hour channel. a joint venture of PTV and STN (Shalimar Television Network), launched in 1999/2001 and went off air in 2005

Administrative divisions of PTV

News division

Pakistan Television News informs its viewers across the country on the latest newsworthy happenings on the national and international levels. Throughout the past few years, there has been rapid expansion in the area and scope of news coverage.

  • Following the Pakistani private news channels, PTV News gives on-camera reporting and special news reports.
  • PTV news broadcasts stretch over from early morning till midnight. There are news bulletins in Urdu, English, Arabic and Kashmiri languages. All the news bulletins after 6.00 p.m. are being aired on the national network which are beamed through satellite to more than 38 countries.
  • Regional language bulletins include Punjabi from Lahore Centre, Sindhi from Karachi Centre, Pushto and Hindko from Peshawar, and Baluchi, Pushto and Bravi from Quetta Centre are telecast.
  • To bring home maximum coverage of international events, PTV news has made arrangements with Reuters TV, London, to satellite news items to PTV Islamabad round the clock. PTV news covers all visits abroad of VVIPs, international conferences and important additional events through its own camera teams and makes possible to air them same night.
  • Like international networks, PTV News sent its camera team to Afghanistan to cover the fighting and plight of the common man there.

Current affairs

Current affairs programmes have been a regular features of PTV Transmission, ever after its inception. A separate PTV Current Affairs Directorate was established in 1982.

Current affairs programmes, including regional languages, produced by each of the TV Centre are accommodated in regular PTV transmission. The themes of regional language programmes mainly revolve around local and provincial matters of current affairs nature. The Current Affairs Division produces programmes on special occasions like live telecast of Armed Forces Parade on Pakistan Day, live telecast of flag hoisting ceremony on Independence Day, Head of State's Address to the Nation, documentaries on important national projects, live telecast of certain sessions of Senate and National Assembly. In the programme Open Forum, Federal Ministers/Minister of States are invited to reply the questions through e-mail, on Telephone and by Media/Experts sitting in the various studios of Ptv. This programme is live and is quite popular amongst viewers.

Sports division

  • Division was created in 1983 to provide healthy entertainment to viewers. It has emerged as an extremely productive and earning division for the PTV.
  • The chief objectives of this division are to arrange healthy sports entertainment through the coverage of exciting moments and happening in the field of sports and to keep the viewers abreast with the National and International sports event.
  • Sports Division is producing 200 minutes regular weekly transmission on PTV apart from occasional international/national sports coverage. PTV televises live national and international sports around the world, keeping in view the interest of Pakistani viewers.

International Relations Division of PTV

International Relations Division of Pakistan Television Corporation participates in the international television festivals/competitions sending best of its PTV programmes to them. PTV has won distinguished prizes and commendations at those events.

A large number of PTV programmes have been sold for telecast in additional countries which resulted in strengthening of the financial condition of PTV. Such companies as Shalimar Recording and Broadcasting Company and Sports Star International Company are the major distributors of PTV programmes.

A lot of PTV plays and documentaries have been provided to foreign countries through government ministries and missions abroad free of charge for the projection of Pakistan and its people.

Dubbing and editing is carried out by PTV International Relations Division. Some selected programmes are subtitled in English and Arabic languages for overseas projection especially for Muslim countries. Documentaries from National Geographic Magazine are being televised with Urdu dubbing. A series of animated imported programme "Treasure Island" is being dubbed in Urdu language for telecast. PTV has recently provided the satellite facilities to foreign agencies with regard to Pakistan's nuclear tests and has earned approximately US $400,000 each time.

PTV has procured foreign canned programmes on hire/rental basis. PTV procures foreign programmes including feature films, cartoons, science fiction, comedy, adventure, classic drama serials/series and public general-interest programs.

PTV Censor Board

PTV Censor Board was formed in 1968 headed by Director Programs Administration. It was separately instituted within PTV on the approval of the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in December 1980 to clear and certify bulk of imported and locally acquired programmes with speed and efficiency. PTV Consultant of News/Current Affairs/Presentation presently heads the PTV Censor Board.

PTV Engineering Division

The Engineering Division takes care of the day-to-day operations and maintenance of PTV Centres and Rebroadcast Stations, new projects, Planning & Procurement, as well as Research and Development activities.

It was an engineering feat at the time Pakistan began television transmissions in 1964 at Lahore, long before its neighbours Iran in [1967] and India in [1971]. Over the years, the system has grown into a countrywide network offering two programming channels.

PTV Introduction- a chronology of events

  • 1961 Phillips Conceptual B&W Test at Expo Fair in Karachi, Pakistan.
  • 1962 Private Test Transmissions in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • 1964 Television service (PTV) in monochrome started at Lahore with Nippon Electric Company (NEC) Collaboration.
  • 1965 Television service starts in Dhaka, East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh).
  • 1965 Transmission begins in Rawalpindi/Islamabad.
  • 1967 Transmission begins in Karachi. Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari appointed first General Manager of PTV-Karachi Center.[6]
  • 1973 National Microwave Network commissioned linking TV centres..
  • 1974 Quetta/Peshawar centres commissioned.
  • 1976 Colour transmission started.
  • 1987 Federal TV centre at Islamabad commissioned.
  • 1992 Second TV Channel (PTV 2) for education commissioned. (One TV station at Islamabad & 16 rebroadcast stations).
  • 1996 Local area transmission from four (4) stations started and extended to 3 more stations.
  • 1998 Transmission of PTV World programmes started.
  • 1998 Up to six production centres (Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad-I & Islamabad-II). 35 rebroadcast stations in operation for PTV-1. 16 rebroadcast stations in operation for PTV-2.
  • PTV-1 – Area covered: 38%; Population covered: 86.48%
  • PTV-2 – Area covered: 24.19%; Population covered: 55.83%

Training academy

Established in 1987, Pakistan Television Academy is an apex TV institution in Pakistan, which imparts professional training in disciplines of television broadcast technology. It is headed by a full-time director and assisted by a team of television professionals who're members of the academic faculty.

Till June 1998, over 3100 persons have attended training programmes conducted by PTV Academy. These participants attended training courses in Engineering, Computer, Finance, Administration, News, Current Affairs and Programmes Production. They included visiting participants from additional countries including SAARC countries members.

Year 2012 performance

Year 2012 saw a rapid popularity in PTV programs. PTV saw a huge gain in viewership according to TRP( Target rating point company) ratings by providing coverage to 2012 ICC World Twenty20 cricket games and showing the top-rated drama serial on PTV "Talafi".

Ubaidur Rahman the first General Manager and originator of PTV commissioned Pakistan's supremo artist A. R. Chughtai to design a conceptual logo for PTV, this logo was later redesigned with minor modifications by another leading artist Shahzad Nawaz Khan for a more up-to-date look. Recently in the year 2016 PTV's channel logos redesigned by PTV's Creative Manager (Design) Babur Saghir. By redesigning the logos of these ten channels of PTV his design philosophy was as follows: The harmony in the design of our new logos depicts unity and connectivity. The non-conventional shape represents modernity, innovation and the new age of PTV. PTV engraved on gold symbolises the last 50 years of our quite strong connexion with our audience. The diverse colour palette is representative of the diversity of our people. The golden stroke shows dynamism and the transformation of PTV.


The early team in 1964 at PTV-Lahore Center

  • Ubaidur Rahman, first General Manager, (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PTV), by appointment of President Ayub Khan in 1964
  • Aslam Azhar, first Managing Director of PTV Lahore Television Center ( 26 Nov 1964)
  • Nisar Hussain (first Program Producer/ Director of PTV- Lahore Center)
  • Zubair Chaudhry
  • Fazal Kamal - hired away from old Radio Pakistan, Karachi station by Aslam Azhar to join his PTV Lahore Center team in 1964
  • Nisar Mirza - TV Cameraman
  • Mustafa Kamal Mandokhail
  • Sharif Khan Poonchwaley - sitar player
  • Tufail Niazi- folk singer
  • Muslehuddin- the first news reporter of PTV Programs at Lahore Television Center
  • Mumtaz Hamid Rao- first news reporter in the field
  • Zafar Samdani- first news editor at PTV Lahore Center
  • Tariq Aziz- the first on-air news broadcaster PTV Lahore Television Center (26 Nov 1964)
  • Kanwal Hameed - first female news broadcaster

Syed Mohsin Ali was the legendary Drama producer of PTV News, who produced popular and award-winning drama serials including Tanhaian, Ankahi, Aathwaan Samandar, and one of the best serial Jinnah say Quaid on the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Syed Mohsin Ali was additionally awarded Lifetime Achievement Award and a large number of additional PTV Awards. Syed Mohsin Ali was additionally the teacher of famous film and drama producer Shoaib Mansoor. They both jointly produced the famous drama serial Sunehry Din.

PTV personalities

Some criticism of policy

  • Punjabi is spoken by a huge majority of the Punjab province as well as in Pakistan, yet PTV doesn't have a separately devoted TV channel in the Punjabi language. Pakistan TV makes its announcements in Urdu, the national language. Punjabi language is being marginalised by PTV according to a few critics.[7][8] Although Pakistan Television Multan TV Center in Punjab, Pakistan started broadcasting a few of its programmes in the local Saraiki language a few years ago. Also a few musical PTV programmes are broadcast in Punjabi language from PTV-Lahore Center.