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Pakistan Bans Broadcast of Indian Programs

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - People look at the burned remains of a passenger vehicle on the outskirts of Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 17, 2016. Kashmir is witnessing the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers.

FILE - People look at the burned remains of a passenger vehicle on the outskirts of Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 17, 2016. Kashmir is witnessing the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers.

Pakistan has banned Indian programs on local radio and television stations, the latest casualty of continuing military and political tension between the two countries.

The state-run Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority announced the decision Wednesday, saying the decade-long unilateral concession is being canceled starting October 21.

The authority warned that violators of the ban would have their broadcasting licenses suspended without issuance of “show cause notices.”

Indian songs, movies and drama serials have been a regular entertainment element and a source of revenue for scores of private radio and television channels operating in Pakistan.

The ban came after the Indian film industry barred Pakistani actors from its movies, and cinema associations refused to play movies featuring artists, singers and music directors from the neighboring country.

Wednesday’s announcement comes as Pakistani and Indian troops engage in intermittent exchanges of fire across the disputed Kashmir border referred to as the line of control.

The tensions increased after last month’s militant attack on a military base in Indian Kashmir that New Delhi alleges was planned on Pakistani soil.

Islamabad rejected the charges as an attempt to divert attention from what it alleges is Indian forces’ brutal suppression of a week of anti-India protests in Kashmir.

India’s claim of conducting a so-called surgical strike on the Pakistani side of the divide of the Kashmir region to eliminate terrorists trying to cross into India has further fueled tensions. But the Pakistan military has rejected as baseless New Delhi’s claim of conducting the cross-line-of-control raid, such an action would have been an act of war.

India’s refusal to attend a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation scheduled for next month in Pakistan prompted Islamabad to postpone it. New Delhi has also vowed not to play cricket matches with Pakistan in upcoming international events.

The actions, Indian officials say, are part of their diplomatic efforts to seek Pakistan’s international isolation for allegedly supporting groups involved in cross-border terrorism in India and Afghanistan. Islamabad rejects the allegations saying its anti-terrorism efforts are being internationally acknowledged.

It dismisses the Indian efforts to isolate Pakistan as nothing but “a ploy to divert international attention from ongoing Indian oppression” in the divided Kashmir region.

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