State-run broadcaster Doordarshan will start including weather forecasts for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Northern Areas from Friday, a move designed to deliver a daily message to Islamabad that it was holding on to these territories illegally. A senior government official told Hindustan Times that Doordarshan National, DD News, All India Radio and Kashir channels had been told to include these territories in its daily weather bulletins along with other places in the country. Doordarshan’s Kashmir channel is telecast in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Doordarshan’s weather bulletin will have forecasts for Mirpur and Muzaffarabad in Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit in Northern Areas.
“The step will also be a constant reminder to the Imran Khan government and its few supporters that India will not allow Islamabad to take any steps to legitimise its illegal occupation,” said a senior government official.
The decision coincided with New Delhi’s strong protests this week over the order of Pakistan’s top court that provided for setting up a caretaker administration in Gilgit-Baltistan to hold fresh elections.
India claims the whole of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which was given near-provincial status by the Pakistan government in 2009.
In January 2019, Pakistan’s top court had ruled that its powers extended to “Gilgit-Baltistan” provoking sharp protest from New Delhi, which declared “the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, has been, is and shall remain an integral part of India”.
Last week, Pakistan’s Supreme Court went a step further and allowed the government to amend the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to set up a caretaker administration in the region to conduct fresh elections. The order was issued in response to a petition filed by the Imran Khan government.
On May 4, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a demarche, a formal diplomatic note, on a senior Pakistan diplomat stationed in the national capital.
New Delhi said neither Islamabad nor its judiciary had any 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 and Kashmir. Instead Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the written protest read.