The Kashmir circus is back in town. Pakistan is complaining at the United Nations, India is complaining about Pakistan’s complaints and the Indian media is doing something that is somewhat questionable. A few hours before Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, familiar reports have surfaced of human-rights violations by both the countries in their respective sections of Kashmir.
In India, one channel took it further. On Tuesday CNN-IBN broadcast what it claimed was exclusive footage of protesters in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir demanding azaadi (freedom), followed by a brutal crackdown by authorities. CNN-IBN failed to put a date to the video, giving the impression that these are ongoing events. Headlined Living Hell in PoK, the report purports to show locals claiming that Pakistani authorities are corrupt and are the alleged perpetrators of state terror.
It turns out, however, that some of the footage was picked up from clips on YouTube that are all at least a year old. The video below posted by a journalist with Express News, a news channel in PoK, says these are protests against load shedding and ill-planned development projects. The clip is dated March 24, 2013.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has labelled CNN-IBN’s report as propaganda, said the footage had been doctored. India, however, says it is proof of Pakistan’s neglect and mistreatment of the region.
Most often, the media narrative has focussed on the heavy handedness of Indian security forces in Kashmir, where some people have been demanding freedom for decades now. For once, there seemed to be an opportunity to show that the residents of the Pakistani part of Kashmir are protesting too. However, it seems like this broadcast was delayed too long.