New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has made light of reports about its decision to include Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in its weather forecasts, saying it wasn’t the first time this was being done.
Speaking to ThePrint Thursday, IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the practice will now become part of the readings issued by their regional centre for the Jammu & Kashmir subdivision.
It was reported this week that the IMD’s forecasts for the J&K subdivision now include Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, areas of Kashmir that India believes to be under Pakistani occupation. Muzaffarabad is the capital of PoK.
This change came just a day after India took exception to a Pakistan Supreme Court order regarding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, and asked Islamabad to vacate the area.
“This not at all for the first time that we have shown the weather reports of Gilgit-Baltistan, Skardu and Muzaffarabad,” Mohapatra said. “After all, we consider this (a)part of India and we have been showing it in our national bulletin. But starting this week, we have started showing it as part of our regional centre bulletin,” he added.
According to Mohapatra, the Met department has taken the decision “independently” in the “interest of the country”.
“We have to understand that weather has no boundary. This is our country we can give the weather forecast for any place we want to. Besides, IMD does the weather reading for the entire South Asian region, be it Afghanistan, Pakistan on the west or Bangladesh in the east,” Mohapatra said.
Vacate Gilgit-Baltistan, says India
Gilgit-Baltistan became the latest flashpoint in India and Pakistan’s strained ties earlier this week after the nation’s Supreme Court issued notices to the advocate general of Gilgit-Baltistan, directing them to amend the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 and establish a caretaker government there.
It ordered that the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 be amended so that the upcoming general elections can be held by September and an interim caretaker government be set up in the meantime.
Reacting to the order, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the government of Pakistan or its judiciary “has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it”.
“India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the MEA added.
The tenure of the present Gilgit-Baltistan government expires this June and the next general elections will be held within two months. This election is for the Gilgit-Baltistan Council.
Despite being controlled administratively from Islamabad since 1947, Gilgit-Baltistan continues to remain a disputed region between India and Pakistan, and hence has not been officially integrated in Pakistan. However, the people of the region have been demanding the status of Pakistani citizens with constitutional rights.