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Pakistan bans all Indian channels after Centre approves All India Radio’s (AIR) plan to start Balochistan News Bulletin

The signals were by boosted by installing a new 300 kv digital Radio Mondial (DRM) transmitter in Jammu

All India Radio Old Broadcasting House, New Delhi, India
  • All India Radio (AIR) extends signals beyond boundaries by installing new transmitter in Jammu state-run radio station
  • AIR plans to start an exclusive news bulletin in ‘Balochi’ language
  • PM Narendra Modi remarks human rights violations in Pakistan’s regions in his Independence day speech

September 2, 2016: All India Radio (AIR) is likely to boost its signals that can be heard in Baloch, Pakistan-administered areas of Kashmir (PoK) and other provinces surpassing the boundaries. All India Radio has made this development by extending their state-run radios, said the PTI report on Wednesday.

This came into being by improving the transmission signals of the state-run radio station in Jammu of AIR. The signals were by boosted by installing a new 300 kv digital Radio Mondial (DRM) transmitter in Jammu. The programmes transmitted now from the radio station of Radio Kashmir Jammu has the aerial radius of 300 km and travels terrestrial distance beyond that reaching the PoK area and other provinces of Pakistan.

Now, the state-run radio station of AIR Radio Kashmir Jammu in Jammu has been broadcasting the programmes. These programmes are efficiently transmitted with loud and clear sound waves in the areas of Pok and other provinces of Pakistan. And the result is that these programmes are becoming increasingly favourite and popular day by day. Also, the External services of AIR is planning to start an exclusive news bulletin in ‘Balochi’ language for the people of Pakistan.

These steps were taken significantly, as these developments come within two weeks after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on Pakistan atrocities on the 70th Independence day speech. As in his speech, the Prime Minister brought in light human rights violations in Pakistan’s Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK. This remarkable idea created a stir of controversies, as Pakistan pointed out on the situation stating PM Modi for ‘crossing the red line’ in his speech.

PM Modi’s remark was clearly an answer to Pakistan dedicating its Independence day to ‘Freedom of Kashmir’. And through the speech and by following the further steps to extend the AIR signals it was a perfect fit reply.

– prepared by Jagpreet Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter:@jagpreet_ks9

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Pakistan Reacts Sharply To U.S. Religious Freedom Charges

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused

A Pakistani nun holds a candle during a vigil for victims of a deadly suicide bombing in a park, March 28, 2016, in Lahore. VOA

Pakistan is denouncing a U.S. decision to place it on a list of countries Washington says are the worst offenders of religious freedom.

“Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities… there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise,” the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a strongly-worded statement.

The reaction comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his designation of “countries of particular concern” that allegedly have engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Freedom Violations

The countries on the blacklist are exposed to punitive sanctions, but Pompeo waived them for Pakistan, citing U.S. national interests.

Pakistan had until now been on a U.S. watch list for governments that have “engaged in or tolerated” severe violations of religious freedom.

Pakistani volunteers collect debris from an Ahmadi mosque demolished by an angry mob, in the eastern city of Sialkot. VOA

While rebuking Tuesday’s U.S. pronouncement as “unilateral and politically motivated,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry noted Pakistan is “a multi-religious and pluralistic society” of more than 200 million people, mostly Muslims.

“Around four percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths. Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan,” it said.

Ahmadis most persecuted community

The statement did not mention the Ahmadi sect, which critics say is the most persecuted minority in Pakistan. The constitution bars the community from “posing as Muslims” and from calling their worship places “mosques.”

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback while defending downgrading of Pakistan reiterated Tuesday the challenges facing the Ahmadi community.

USA, Pakistan
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington. VOA

“The Pakistani government criminalizes the identification of Ahmadis as Muslims, and then also — and this one has really been difficult and troubling for a lot of people — the government often fails to hold accountable perpetrators of killings and violence against members of religious minorities targeted on account of their religious beliefs or affiliations,” said Brownback.

Blasphemy laws

He cited, among other things, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as a cause for the downgrade of the country’s religious freedom ranking. The laws prescribe the death penalty for those found guilty.

Rights groups have long complained Islamist groups misuse the law to intimidate minorities in the country.

Insulting Islam or its prophet is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where mere allegations have led to mob lynchings. A former provincial governor, a federal minister, judges and lawyers are among those assassinated in Pakistan by extremists merely for calling for reform of the blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse or for hearing cases and defending alleged blasphemers.

Asia Bibi

In a historic judgement this past October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for eight years after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammad. The women denied the charges from the outset as an outcome of a local feud and the country’s highest court cited lack of evidence in overturning her conviction by a lower court.

Radical Islamists rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Bibi and her family have been in hiding since her release. Her lawyer fled Pakistan shortly after the landmark court ruling announced on October 31, saying his life was in danger.

Bibi is awaiting a rehearing of her case by the Supreme Court and is residing in a safe place under government protection, say Pakistani officials.

Pakistan also arrested hundreds of Islamist activists and their leaders last month for staging days of mass violent protests to denounce the court for freeing Bibi.

Also Read: Muslims in Malaysia Rally In Kuala Lumpur To Keep Status

The government has charged the detainees with treason and terrorism and officials have vowed to put them on trial in special courts.

“It’s our hope that they will, the new leadership in Pakistan, will work to improve the situation. There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi,” said Brownback.

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused of committing severe violations of religious freedom. (VOA)