By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Defending his decision to air Turkish drama series on state-run television, Pakistan's prime minister has said the blockbuster productions are being broadcast to educate and provide good role models to the people, particularly the youth.
In an interview with local broadcaster Hum News aired Saturday night, Imran Khan said the airing of quality content like Turkish dramas was an attempt to provide alternative entertainment to the people.
Observing that the misuse of technology, like mobile phones, has "devastated" society, he said: "You cannot ban things, but you can provide alternative entertainment to the public."
Pakistan, he went on to say, will try to produce quality productions such as Yunus Emre: Askın Yolculugu (Yunus Emre: Love's Journey) and Dirilis: Ertugrul (Resurrection), which have enjoyed record viewership in the country and abroad.
Earlier this week, Khan had publicly recommended that people watch Yunus Emre: Askin Yolculigu to explore their interest in Sufism.
The blockbuster series is being broadcast under the title Raah-e-Isahq, meaning path to love, with Urdu dubbing on the state-run Pakistan Television, already having attracted a large viewership.
"I strongly recommend the serial Yunus Emre being shown on PTV for all those who are interested in Sufiism (Marayfat)," Khan said in a tweet on Tuesday.
It follows the record-breaking historical drama Diliris: Ertugrul, which has taken Pakistanis by storm.
Already becoming a household name in the South Asian country, Ertugrul has set yet another record as its Urdu YouTube channel last week surpassed 10 million subscribers.
In 2013, Pakistani TV channels screened 11 Turkish-made TV series and two movies, with 34,000 tourists visiting Turkey that year. The number jumped to 113,000 in 2018 and is estimated to exceed 120,000 by the end of this year.
- Who was Yunus Emre?
Yunus Emre, also known as Dervis (Dervish) Yunus, was a Turkish folk poet and Sufi mystic thought to have been born in the 13th century.
Having lived in Anatolia, present-day Turkey, he was a very influential figure in Sufism and was considered a spiritual doctor, according to Kamil Saritas, a member of the Faculty of Theology at Eskisehir Osmangazi University (ESOGU) and the head of the Yunus Emre Research Center.