Voice for Kashmiris: AJK radio bursts through India’s info blockade
ISLAMABAD: India’s government has been at pains to hide the simmering anger of the people of Occupied Kashmir ever since it stripped away the disputed territory’s special status in August. Total information blockaded it imposed on the region in the run-up to the contentious move has condemned the people of the occupied territory to silence till date.
But as Kashmiris across the Line of Control suffer under the suspension of internet services and newspapers, their brethren in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan have picked up efforts to ensure the former have a lifeline to the rest of the world.
In particular, Radio Pakistan Islamabad, Azad Kashmir Radio Station Mirpur and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Station Muzaffarabad have taken it upon themselves to become a voice for Kashmiris living under India’s yoke. The PBC, in particular, is not only broadcasting programmes into Occupied Kashmir but is also ensuring their plight is reported across the world.
All the three channels of Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur, Saut-ul-Quran, medium view 936 kilohertz and FM 101.4, apart from being available on the internet, are streamed live across the globe and are also being heard specifically in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to the PM on information and broadcasting and Director-General Radio Pakistan Samina Waqar visited Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur on Oct 19. Mirpur station director, Muhammad Shakeel apprised the special assistant and director-general Radio Pakistan of the problems faced, restoration of the office, financial issues, and problems of officers and the workers.
He apprised that the employees of the radio broadcast the programmes from an office set up in a tent and faced tough situations. He also asked the authorities to renovate the damaged building as soon as possible.
Speaking on the occasion, Samina Waqar called Kashmir the jugular vein of Pakistan, adding that the country is ready to become the voice of Muslims residing in IoK.
“Through the radio transmission, we will inform the world that the Indian government is oppressing the unarmed Muslims of Kashmir,” said the DG Radio Pakistan.
Samina added that Radio Pakistan and Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur aired the live speech of Prime Minister Imran Khan from the United Nations headquarters.
“Even though the speech was monitored by India, we received an overwhelming response from the IoK,” she said.
She said that the government of the Azad Kashmir has provided space for the construction of a new radio station in Muzaffarabad and the building in Mirpur will be upgraded per the latest standards.
Mirpur station director, Muhammad Shakeel said that his radio service is representing the people of Kashmir.
“We consider all our employees working at the Mirpur station as valuable assets. The federal government has assured every possible support,” he said.
Even so, their operations into Occupied Kashmir are not unchallenged. According to officials, the programmes meant for Kashmiris across the LoC are being monitored by Indian authorities who are busy finding ways to disrupt the transmission by all means. So far, the officials said, India’s attempts to this effect have been unsuccessful.
The building of Azad Kashmir Radio Mirpur was also demolished by the devastating earthquake of Sept 24, 2019. All the mountains and adjoining areas of Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir State are located in a highly dangerous zone. Despite the damaged building, radio employees set up the radio station inside a tent and began transmission. Later, they shifted into studios set up inside a big container with one control room, an engineering booth and FM studios, equipped with all the essential machinery.