New Delhi: Pakistan has decided to celebrate a ‘simple’ Eid by getting its television channels not to air any special content on the day, in a bid to express “solidarity” with Kashmiris.
A notification issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), dated 10 August 2019, reads, “In observance of solidarity with Kashmir… it is requested that No Special Programmes (already recorded or planned live) be aired as Eid celebrations as the same may hurt sentiments of not only our nation but also the Kashmiri brethren”.
The notification also states that 14 August (Pakistan’s Independence day) is to be celebrated as a “Solidarity Day with brave Kashmiris”. It has further called on Pakistani channels to “project the two-nation theory, Indian atrocities against Muslims and minorities in India and Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” on 15 August — India’s Independence day.
The notification comes in the wake of India’s decision to revoke Article 370 and Article 35A, which scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s decision caught Pakistan off-guard with Pakistan planning to take the issue to international institutions like the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It has also suspended its trade ties with India and downgraded diplomatic relations.
Pakistan’s TV coverage
In Pakistan, the news channels frequently act as a propaganda tool to attack India on Kashmir. Pakistan’s news channel ARY News reports that the decision to observe 14 August as “Kashmir Solidarity Day” has led to an increase in the sale of Kashmiri flags in Pakistan.
Sale of Kashmiri flags, badges and other decoration items have gained impetus ahead of Independence Day after the federal government had announced to observe August 14 as Kashmir Solidarity Day#ARYNews #IndependenceDay
— ARY News (@ARYNEWSOFFICIAL) August 10, 2019
Ever since India’s decision to revoke Article 370, the twitter page of Pakistan’s state broadcaster PTV has been reduced to a collection of anti-India tweets. Take for instance this tweet about a Pakistan Television Corporation documentary on Burhan Wani, which calls him the “first digital freedom fighter of the century”.
— PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) August 9, 2019
Or for that matter, this tweet, where the channel claims that India has put 9 lakh troops in Kashmir, a statistic which is exaggerated even if one accounts for the recent additional deployment of 38,000 troops.
“#Kashmir never was, and never will be a part of #India.” – Facing over 900,000 occupation troops & complete communication breakdown, enraged Kashmiris have taken to the streets against the unjust & illegal actions of the Indian State.
— PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) August 10, 2019
The response of Pakistani media, however, isn’t surprising particularly under the Imran Khan government. Military spokesmen now advise the media “to report only positive things about the country”.
Interviews with opposition leaders like Asif Ali Zardari Geo News and Maryam Nawaz on Hum News were also disallowed by state authorities.
When in opposition, the leaders of Imran Khan’s party PTI had led an armed attack on Geo TV’s office for an alleged misreporting about PTI.