10 things I miss about PTV

Published: January 4, 2012

Believe it or not, dads watched dramas, children watched the news, and moms watched cartoons. Unfortunately, this is not true today.

Some of you might be too young to remember, but in the not-so-distant past, there was a time when we had just one TV channel, Pakistan Television (PTV). This lone channel, too, did not air all day. In fact, it started at around 4 pm and almost always ended before midnight.

We have come a long way since then as Pakistani media has grown into a huge industry. Undoubtedly, this has many advantages in terms of opportunity and exposure. But sometimes I can’t help but feel terribly nostalgic. I miss the simpler days of PTV.  Here’s a list of things about the channel I miss the most:

1. Low costs. In the good old days of PTV, there was just one TV set for the entire household to share. No one needed more than a single TV in the house since every member of the family watched just the one channel.

2. The TV lounge and the family. The whole family was content with sitting in one room and enjoying whatever was on. Believe it or not, dads watched dramas, children watched the news, and moms watched cartoons. Unfortunately, this is not true today. Family bonding in front of the TV is a concept of the distant past.

3. The ‘no-tension’ news. This began with “sadr-e-mumlikat ne kaha” (The president said), wen on to “wazeer-e-azam ne kaha” (the prime minister said), and ended somewhere around “governor ne kaha” (the governor said). No conspiracy theories, no stupid fights, no exaggerations, no songs to describe the political situation, no analyses, no talk shows – no tension. These were the days of straight journalism.

4. The quality writers. Haseena Moeen, Amjad Islam Amjad and the like were classy writers. I don’t know if these people still write for TV; if they do, I have lost them somewhere in the overwhelming sea of channels.

5. No remote controls. Since there was just one channel, you did not require a remote control. This meant no fighting over who got ownership of the control, no household searches for the lost remote, no continuous changing of channels, and no feeling of extreme discomfort when somebody else had it.

6. Those creepy tunes. Somehow I miss the funny noises that would accompany the various transitions of the PTV channel. Be it the soothing tone that accompanied the PTV sign before the transmission began, or the highly irritating ‘tain tain’ before a live hockey match, PTV music had its distinct charm.

7. Underpaid artistes. I might be wrong here,  but somehow I feel that people who were paid peanuts, like Shoaib Hashmi, Shoaib Mansoor, Nusrat Thakur, Tariq Aziz, and so on offered quality journalism. They were so much better than the many who are paid handsomely today, but fail to deliver the same standard of results.

8. Announcements. A pretty lady appearing on your screen before every program and telling you the name, writer, director, stars, and sponsors of the show was somehow comforting. Moreover, just hearing ‘Aaj ke program’ at the beginning of the transmission lent a sort of predictability to the proceedings.

9. Raag rang. For lovers of classical music, this was a real treat. I don’t think any other channel these days airs any program on classical music.

10. Farman-e-Ilahi. This show, the last of the transmission, provided closure to the day. One could sleep early and not waste time watching TV till 3 am. Though it seems hard to believe, but in those days when someone asked the question:

‘Anything interesting on TV late night today?’

This ‘late night’ usually meant 10 pm and not 2 am.


Sarmad Tariq

A motivational speaker, and a writer with the aim to help others realize the positive significance of limitations at organizational and personal levels.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Lone

    Excellent summary of the golden era that was, very nostalgic. You missed the tune and the picture that used to appear before each programme depending on the station i.e Mazare Quaid for khi, Minar-e-Pakistan for Lahore etc.Recommend

  • Arsalan Ghumman

    Brilliant. I often discuss with my mates how good was PTV. I do remember the special transmission during the elections which last long until the announcement of the result. And especially the prank comedy of 50/50 show artists. These were the times when families sat together all night just to watch the prank comedy during special transmission.Recommend

  • hassan

    I remember the goods advertisments, dramas like “Andehra Ujalla” cartoon time only in evening aroud 5-6pm then ptv started its morning trransmiision with chaha Muntansir Hussian Tarrir. Long Election transmission in 88,92,96 and special programmes in elections for entertaiment. We all sit togather to watch all prgrammed. This articles all reminds the golden daysRecommend

  • Sidra

    the long list of sponsors read before every drama! i remember the text covered the whole page while someone read, is program kelie hamare saat tawun kia hai blah blah!Recommend

  • alevel student

    how can u forget the saturday night movies. . Recommend

  • ahsan

    “Tariq aziz show paish kiya hai Gaye soap banay walo kay tauwun se “Recommend

  • Farhan Gilgiti

    The news was terrible, being devoid of investigation and objectivity.

    The cultural and social programmes were amazing.

    In today’s TV industry, both are terrible.Recommend

  • http://awgilani.wordpress.com Syed Abdul Wahab Gilani

    you missed Tijarti and regional news :) 7:25 and 3 p.m cartoon timeRecommend

  • aisha

    the good old days! Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    The ads, how can you forget the ads. I still sometimes hunt youtube archives for early 90 ads.
    The handwritten program titles and credits.
    The fact that sometimes you got something that you weren’t interested in and that made you get up and switch off the tele for a change.

  • Salman

    I must say very beautiful post but i dont agree with (NUMBER 3) with all due respect!
    thanks for the post :)Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/asad84 Asad

    I can’t forget the thursdays and fridays. The tv schedule was something I used to wait for the whole week. It was

    Thursday: ninja turtle (NTM), neelam ghar, khabarnama and urdu feature film (which we used to see while eating popcorns)

    Friday: Sona Chandi, Andhera Ujala (while eating halwa puri or qeema paratha), Juma Namaz ka waqfa, seasom street, sindhi drama and Sitara or Mehrunnissa(NTM)

    Aahh gone those days :(:(

    Thanks Sarmad for taking me back to the golden daysRecommend

  • Umar Pervaiz

    Excellent Article Sarmad Sb. Those were really wonderful times. Recommend

  • The Reader

    Loved reading you, man!Recommend

  • Nexus

    yes, I miss those times too. Though we were small, but it was hell lot more comforting than what we have now. I feel I can’t protect my kids with what they’d show next on tv! Recommend

  • Pinky

    and the public service messages before 9pm news..”kapas k kashtkaron k naam aaham paigham” followed by a list of funnily named creepy crawlies; surkh taila, amreeki soundi etc
    ah good old daysRecommend

  • Madiha

    ET was about to lose a reader with some of it’s most commented (aka most terrible) blogs until this came along.Recommend

  • Rizvi

    Yeh water cooler ap ka hua……….miss nelaam gharRecommend

  • K

    I also remeber the newscaster saying ” Ajj karachi mein Amun-o-Amaan ki surat-e-haal bihaal kardi gayi hai …” for years I wondered who was this Aman Noman and what has happened to him, that had lead Pak Gov to take care of him and that they talk about him every night during the news program …. one fine day I asked my mom and then no turning back …. lolRecommend

  • ihk

    GOOD goood old days!!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    …..and a lot of the larger TV sets were in wooden cabinets with door or shutters that were closed at the end of the day. Ice cream came in three flavours and pistachio if you were lucky. Trains ran on time and PIA were great people to fly with and the USD was at about Rs 4 and Coke cost 4 annas. and, and, and………Recommend

  • Bushra faiz

    Ahhh nostalgia! We played outside most of the times!Recommend

  • syke

    I recite the dua after azaan fluently now due to watching it every night during isha ki namaaz ka waqfa whilst the 8 o clock drama was aired… ….don’t know if they still do that. I do miss ladoo soap, and proctol & gamble have a special place in my heart- as they always sponsored the classics! Recommend

  • Atika Rehman

    Love it!Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    “These were the days of straight journalism.”

    Ummmm PTV was a state run mouthpiece for whichever government was in power. Recommend

  • http://thecricketinsight.blogspot.com/ Hmmm

    I miss Asinak Wala jin and the morning cartoonsRecommend

  • zak

    i miss watching 7:15 am tom and jerry show Recommend

  • Salman

    if you are going to talk about ptv…how can you forget chips!!!Recommend

  • Hasan

    I miss the good english action and comedy shows which were a regular feature of PTV. Only one channel did not mean it was short of entertainment, and every night one could watch entertaining tv including english comedies, urdu dramas and english movies on weekends. Good old days.Recommend

  • Adil

    Aww! Golden golden days! 9 o’clock news was the most important event of the day in our house.Recommend

  • Shireen

    I miss the weekend English movies which were well censored & could be watched with young & old without hesitation.
    Also the variety of Children English Programs which we saw on weekdays & treat ones on Sunday mornings or afternoons.
    Even the dramas had quality in which actors were well known to express deep emotions even romantic ones without getting too upclose. Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/asad84 Asad

    The sleepy moments when Allama Iqbal Open Unversity lectures were telecasted :P:P

    And I still wonder that weatherman Mohammad Hanif still coming on PTV news :P:P and doesnt seems to have changed much :PRecommend

  • Ahsan

    Iam a Karachitte recently being posted to Kenya by my company. I met an Indian who spent his childhood in Amrister, he kept asking me about Ptv and how is family used to prefer it over all the Indian channels. he said Ptv used to rule India in 70’s and 80’s.Recommend

  • Girl

    and Ainak Wala Jinn for us kids =) ah I did like ZaybEenaAg!Recommend

  • Feeduki

    Good ole days indeed!Recommend

  • Rizvi

    What about STN? The wizard, A-Team, Saber Riders, Thundercats etc. EpicRecommend

  • perplexed

    the annoying music while the tv read “intezaar fermaiya”Recommend

  • Shahbaz Younis

    Excellent write up! Thanx for bringing me back to golden era …. perhaps u forgot to mention a wonderful line by Mustansar Hussain tarar before playing cartoon, n that was one two three ………….. carton :)Recommend

  • khan

    dude how could you forget the beautiful smily face announcer telling us about the new programmes …iss sehmahi mein ye dramay pesh hongay….i loved that…it made us all happy…and what irritated me the most was when a drama which aired at 8 oclock was put on hold for 9 bajay ka khabarnama…dramay ka baqiya hissa khabarnamay k baad…
    i hated it and most of the time i would sleep within that half hour on the sofa n then someone would wake me up and take me to my room….dude the great dramas…miss them alot..dhuwan, angar wadi, nijaat and all those..and the best of all…”chacha ji”…the cartoon before going to school…the drawings kids sent chacha ji…
    ahh nostolgiaRecommend

  • kuku

    @Noman Ansari:
    btw, it still is infact ptv news has gone from bad to worse in this regard, portraying pakistan as the most developed country in the world all the time!Recommend

  • http://www.isharearena.com/category/freelance Aswad

    PTV Dramas still beat toady’s modern over budget dramas easily…O man the drama without even background music and the emotion delivered by silence and face expressions …Just amazing!!!Recommend

  • J

    exactly…and i and my sibs used to count the number of sponsors and at the end challenging each other to tell the number of sponsors…lolRecommend

  • trollolo

    Finally an article for which I didn’t have to look for the meanings of the words. :DRecommend

  • Majid Urrehman

    And unbearable pain when a fixed and announced program was not aired to give coverage to some govt. ceremony. A wait of 1 week and when it was supposed to be on air…it was not there!Recommend

  • A.Riaz

    well a nice summery , i felt like went back to my childhood, it jst flashed back everything about a nice time.Recommend

  • Ali

    You missed the rainbow bars when the telecast was not available!!Recommend

  • http://www.sadafhafeez.blogspot.com Sadaf

    Just a few days back I was watching a drama by Ashfaq Ahmad titled “Neeli Chirya “. I was so absorbed into its poignant dialogues . And I so liked the way the romantic scenes have been toned down for family-viewership.Sacrificing little bit of aesthetics for greater purpose isn’t such a bad thing after-all.Recommend

  • Aviator

    Come on, you REALLY miss those cheesy theme tunes to Khabarnama, and the same headlines praising the current regime? Just joking, those were the golden days of TV!Recommend

  • Aviator

    I loved when they aired Airwolf, Star Trek Next Generation, Full House, Matlock! Would discuss the episodes the next day with friends at school! Yes that was a loong time ago, late 80’sRecommend

  • http://amnahussain.blogspot.com Amna

    Wow! This post was a treat to read! Brilliant :)Recommend

  • Sheemaa

    Really nice! PTV gave discipline to our lives. Kids had more time to play physically then to sit infront of tv for whole day. Plus the Khaber Nama globe at 9 meant lights off n eyes closed for kids. Recommend

  • Shahzeb

    Pakistan has lost its culture now. I miss the 80’s and 90’s even though I was only a small child then.Recommend

  • mona

    totaly enjoyed the post…..but my memory takes me further back in that golen era…when back in late 60s Ptv launched its transmission from Rawalpindi..it started with one hour daily.n. a holiday once a week… sounds funny though..but felt like something was lost that evening..then it jumped to 3 hours daily eliminating the holiday ..few houses had tv in the mohallah so kids .n. even elders used to watch it at others home very comfortably…special arrangements for these guests were made when ptv started showing urdu feature films…i remember how much we liked.. Denis the menace, bewitched,lessie,lucy show.n above all the series, fugitive…now it makes me smile when just to refresh those days i watch these on youtube.. ..yea those were the days !!Recommend

  • Saadia

    Wow! Trip down memory lane. Recommend

  • Sana

    @alevel student:
    Thursday night, mind it Friday used to be holidayRecommend

  • Umar.

    An awesome read. Made me nostalgic and took me back in the days. I literally felt like I was sitting in that room with my family watching PTV. Thank you.Recommend

  • MyHeartSpeaks

    In addition, there used to be Kashmir issue highlighted in daily ‘Khabarnama’ of 9 o’clock. But, now Kashmir issue seems to have been sidelined by media, while condition is still worse there in Kashmir.Recommend

  • ashar rasool

    brought smile to my face , after reading the articles as well as the comments :)))) , can that time come back.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqas Akram


  • aliya

    truly amazing times.. dramas use to end within 13 episodes and now u see 100+ episodes rarely making sense,,,, holding hands on PTV.. a big NO NO…compared to almost intimate moments in bed and way too close for comfort scences now adays atimes tends to be disgusting…..miss PTV for its simplicity and moral values….Recommend