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PoK weather forecasts will now be a regular feature on DD, AIR news bulletins

The move comes days after New Delhi issued a warning to Islamabad over Gilgit-Baltistan, which India considers a part of Ladakh union territory.   

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New Delhi: News bulletins on state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) started featuring weather forecasts for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) from Friday.

According to a source in the government, the weather reports of areas such as PoK capital Muzaffarabad, Mirpur as well as Gilgit-Baltistan will now be a regular feature of news bulletins on the two broadcasters. Private news channels may follow suit soon, the source added.

The development comes days after the India Meteorological Department (IMD), beginning Tuesday, started including cities under PoK in its forecasts for the Jammu & Kashmir subdivision, which also includes Ladakh. 

The inclusion followed a warning from New Delhi to Islamabad over Gilgit-Baltistan, but IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told ThePrint in an interview that it wasn’t the first time its bulletins covered forecasts for PoK.   

Also Read: IMD adding PoK regions to its map isn’t about the weather, it’s a message from Modi govt

‘A long-stated position’

Talking to ThePrint, a senior government official privy to the matter said it has been India’s “long-stated position” that all of Kashmir belongs to India. 

“Hence, it is logical that all our news reporting covers all the territory of Kashmir, with a focus on local updates from all regions,” the official said, adding that the weather reports “will cover the entire territory”.

PoK coverage has been a standard feature of local programming on state-owned broadcasters. Several long-running programmes on DD Kashir, for example, feature stories and developments from PoK. The official added that the footprints of DD Free Dish, India’s top direct-to-home television service with vast rural outreach, extend well into Pakistan. 

“It is commonly observed on social media that several residents of these regions tune into DD channels through FreeDish,” the official said.

Even the erstwhile Radio Kashmir, which was renamed All India Radio after the scrapping of Article 370 in J&K in August last year, broadcasts programmes to counter propaganda from PoK-based radio stations — such as Azad Kashmir Radio Trarkhal and Azad Kashmir Radio Muzaffarabad.

Tense ties

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”. 

The tenure of the current Gilgit-Baltistan government expires this June and the next general elections would be held within two months.

Also Read: Army will take appropriate action to reclaim PoK if asked to do so, says General Naravane


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