Lahore (AsiaNews) - Radio Veritas Asia (Rva), the short-wave radio of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), has many Muslim listeners. "I started listening by chance, one evening in 1993 – says Gulzeb Abbasi, a teacher and Muslim writer - I came across one of its programs and was impressed. It had nothing to do with religious sectarianism, it spoke of peace and brotherhood. " The man told his story to the 15th annual conference of radio listeners, held on 21 September at Loyola Hall in Lahore.
Radio Veritas Asia started broadcasting in Urdu [Pakistan’s official language, along with English, ed] on August 14, 1987 (airs in 17 languages). To date, it offers two 27 minute programs, one in the morning and one at night, dealing with health, culture, values, famous places in the world, personalities, social issues, literature, inventions and world news. The theme chosen by the radio for the coming year is "self-discovery".
The conference was attended by 120 listeners (only 15 of them Christians) from around the country. Gulzeb Abbasi presented his ninth book along with Msgr. Joseph Arshad, Bishop of Faisalabad and head of the Commission for Social Communications and the WAVE Studio, the national audiovisual center of the Church, based in Lahore.
"Radio Veritas Asia - says Abbasi - inspired me to send letters, write short stories and poems. I was encouraged by the small gifts that you sent me and soon I became a writer. " The professor came to Lahore from Dunga Bunga, a village in Punjab where he was president of a club of listeners that counts 87 members, before work commitments prevented him.
"Even now there is no electricity in our village - says the Muslim - and the radio is are only form of entertainment. We use batteries to power our radios and we meet one Sunday a month to listen to the Rva programs ".
Abdul Ghafoor Qaiser came to Lahore from Bahawalnagur, after a journey of seven hours. "I come every year in a hire car - he says - with at least 20 other listeners. Other radio stations have stopped broadcasting for listeners but Rva continues the tradition and we carry forward our relationship with it."
Msgr. Arshad encouraged the conference participants to spread the message of the radio: "You are our hope, continue to build peace in society. There is a desperate need for tolerance and brotherhood. "