AJK TV channel
The launch of a television channel for Azad Jammu and Kashmir is a welcome development which will provide opportunities for the promotion of the region’s languages, arts and culture.
Christened AJK TV, the new channel has been funded by a Rs 340 million grant from the federal government and consists of one television station and the accompanying broadcast infrastructure, including seven boosters.
‘Speaking at its launch, President Musharraf said that he hoped the channel would “project the Kashmir cause in an effective manner”. He also said that it could prove useful in countering the “negative propaganda” coming from across the border. Most people would agree with this but the point here is that the primary aim of any television channel should be to educate and entertain its audience.
Programmes showing the richness of AJK’s culture, traditions, its local crafts and economy, its scenic beauty and the immense opportunity for recreation and tourism is perhaps be the best way of projecting Azad Kashmir and its cause.
It would be a waste of the federal government’s grant and of the resources of the financially hard-up AJK government if the channel is used to glorify the activities of ministers and high officials a la PTV. Also, in the context of the improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, and the need for a congenial environment between the two countries, the new channel could play a positive role. It could highlight the linguistic, ethnic and cultural heritage common to Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC.
While it is important not to forget, and to highlight, the excesses committed by the Indian security forces on the other side of the Line of Control, the point is that too much emphasis on these can be counter-productive. This new channel could play a more positive role by focusing on relevant issues such as the plight of divided families along the LoC or the importance of the planned bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar.