The Ideology of Pakistan was well understood by the National Artist of Pakistan, M.A. Rahman Chughtai. And Ideology is best understood by using icons which people can understand. The main person behind all these insignias was Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, and after his death continuation by Chughtai Sahibs’s best friends like Agha Bashir, Director General of both Radio Pakistan, and Pakistan Television Corporation. He also lived not very far away from the house of Chughtai Sahib.

I met him personally when I went to see him on request of a friend who wanted one of the official Televisions imported by PTV. The first thing he told me was to let Chughtai Sahib know that a set of 23 inches Phillips was reserved for him. Convincing Chughtai Sahib was a different matter. Not everyone could afford Rs 960 at that time. It really touched our daily life.

It was in 1946 that Liaquat Ali Khan started writing to Chughtai Sahib about designing various things. The design of the Pakistani flag, the first insignia of Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Postal Stamps, and yes the insignia for Radio Pakistan. Various letters are on record, but phone lines were also used. A set of designs were carried to Delhi, by the neighbour Majeed Al-Makki, which is on record too. Not much is on record with us about Radio Pakistan, and Radio Pakistan’s audio records have been donated to the Library of Congress, in the USA. Strangely we picked up an article in the Civil and Military gazette of Lahore, dated 27th April, 1949, and there is a review by “Raz”, on the  radio coverage on Iqbal day. Raz writes:

“Of all the government institutions, Radio Pakistan is the most indebted to Iqbal. His Shaheen has given it its insignia through the ACT OF CHUGHTAI  and Iqbal’s poems are the very life blood of its daily programmes.”

And the Quran says:

The Quranic Arabic Corpus 2:83

And speak to people good [words] – وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسۡنٗا

This review confirms two things all at once. The insignia was in place by 27th April, 1949, and that it pictures nothing else than an iconic image of a SHAHEEN. A Shaheen in Iqballian terms, spells Ideology. A logo is a design symbol that hints at the icon and does not show the icon in realistic terms. It is shown as a step of Idealistic aesthetics. Plus the instructions for Radio Pakistan are clear from the Quran itself. Yes, speak to people with good words! A researcher gives us the following solid information:


Radio Pakistan’s insignia was designed by the well-known artist, Abdur Rahman Chughtai. It is composed of the figure of an eagle in flight, the wings spread out in the form of a crescent enclosing a star, giving it a two-fold association. Firstly, the crescent and star are symbols of Islam, and secondly it incorporates Iqbal’s concept of ‘Shaheen’ as the independent spirited bird with a keen eye, lofty flight and divine attachment. In the original insignia, the words ‘Radio Pakistan’ were inscribed in Urdu within the crescent. These were replaced by Quranic words in 1951. The *Ahang \ Radio Pakistan’s programme journal, carried the insignia for the first time with the Quranic inscription and the motto in its issue for the second fortnight of August 1951.

The Arabic script inscribed within the Radio Pakistan insignia are words from the Holy Quran, verse (Ayah) No. 83 of Surah Al-Baqarah (speak fair to the people)* and form the motto of Radio Pakistan. These Divine words have been a guideline for Radio Pakistan both in the concept and execution of its policies and programmes. A former Director General of PBC, Qazi Ahmad Saeed, selected these words at the behest of Z.A. Bokhari who wanted a Quranic verse to be adopted as Radio Pakistan’s motto. Another claimant to the honour of choosing the motto is M.H. Shah, a former Administrative Officer of PBC. The calligraphy of the motto is the work of Muhammad Yousuf Dehlavi. (Later known as Hafiz Yusuf Sadeedi). Syed Saleem A.Gilani, a former Director General of PBC contributed the logo:

I know a little about its history, for it was done in front of me. The first design was for Lahore Station only. Vey simply done and done in a hurry, for there was no understanding of television at that time. A TV display was arranged by USIS before that of a Panoramic review. The success of TV led to revisions after revisions. Then Agha Nasir came to the house and met me. It was decided to use the Lahore design for the Federal level too. Chughtai Sahib himself modified same and Aghas Nasir picked it up himself. Later it was subject of many revisions. But essentially from day one the idea of Chughtai Sahib was two fold. One of the Peacock spreading beauty all over Pakistan. And the other the design invoked the idea of a transmission pole spreading information in the country through direct waves. It was a revolutionary idea, and today’s imbeciles see it as outdated, when it was ahead of its time. Design copiers of the West see no ideology in their design studies but Ideology mattered most to M.A. Rahman Chughtai. Radio Pakistan and PTV lives through the icons as well as Chughtai Sahib lives through the designs.


  1. Hamid Zahur of Radio Pakistan requested information, and then disappeared. I worked on theme for him. Probably he was never interested in first place and was a plant for others. How shameful are these people who request cooperation and are least interested in the issues. Pakistan does not progress because of wrong people placed at wrong places. We serve Pakistan. Our motto PAKISTAN FOREVER!

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