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Service Snapshots: Maliha Amirzada

Maliha Amirzada - Radio Mashaal
Maliha Amirzada - Radio Mashaal

Maliha Amirzada is a correspondent for RFE's Radio Mashaal. We caught up with her to discuss Radio Mashaal and its impact on Pashtun society.

A recent addition to RFE/RL, Maliha Amirzada grew up in Peshawar, Pakistan. She attended the University of Peshawar, where she earned an MBA and a BBA in finance. She was trained in banking at the Institute of Bankers Karachi, and joined RFE's Radio Mashaal team in March of 2010.

What impact is your service having in Pakistan?

In a developing country like Pakistan, it is important that people be informed and given a chance to share their perspectives about issues of national and international importance. In the short period of time that I have worked for Radio Mashaal, I have seen firsthand what a crucial role it is playing in reaching the millions of Pashtuns who are not only finding it hard to make ends meet, but who are also deprived of an interactive venue through which to communicate. One of the important ways Mashaal is making in impact is by bridging this gap between different Pashtun regions.

What is one popular program or aspect of your service that is making an impact?

The most important aspect of Mashaal radio is that it has several weekly feature programs that anyone can relate to. We have programs centered around youth, women, Pashto language and culture, war-affected people and their experiences, Pashtun villages, Sufiism, the economy, etc. In this way Radio Mashaal has created a network of communities which include women, men and youth - connecting and informing each of them in different ways.

What motivated you to get into journalism?

I belong to the Pashtun tribal belt and understand the issues that Pashtuns face everyday. Hailing from that region gives me an edge in interpreting these issues and challenges. So I did not need a lot of motivation. Having a strong academic background, journalism was the perfect opportunity for me to interact with my fellow Pashtuns and highlight their problems in order to enable them to get the proper attention that they deserve.