Pak to use VOA funding for information outreach on Kashmir dispute, war on terror

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Islamabad, Feb.2 (ANI): Pakistan plans to broaden its information outreach on key national issues like Kashmir, relations with India and its contribution to the global war on terror through funding provided by the International Board of Governors (IBB) of the Voice of America (VOA).

Revealing this, Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said plans to project Pakistan's view on these key issues are already in place, and the highlights of it were five in number.

Firstly, the information outreach would focus on the Kashmir issue. According to Kaira, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had specifically instructed him to "recover the information space lost to India on the Kashmir issue.

Secondly, Pakistan would use the VOA funding for broadcasting VOA's Urdu programs on Radio Pakistan. In this regard, Kaira said a dedicated frequency would be provided to the VOA's Urdu service. Pakistan would receive annual funding of 200 million dollars.

Insisting that Pakistan's position on Kashmir has been a victim of Indian propaganda, Kaira said Islamabad would desseminate information on the Kashmir dispute to show that it was not a "terrorism issue" as was being projected by India, but a movement for self-determination, and "even freedom from Indian rule. Efforts would also be made to highlight the rights violations in Indian Kashmir.

Fourthly, the outreach intiative would be run mainly on PTV World and ARY Digital. Additionally, he said the federal government would use other online medium and television channels in various parts of the world to project its message.

Kaira said the thinking behind this outreach was not new, and is being done because the government felt the need for it to be globalised, especially after the 1999 Kargil War.

Kaira also justified Pakistan's role in the Kargil War, saying that from the Kashmiri perspective, it was fully justified.

He said Pakistan's inability at that time to tell its side of the story on Kargil had shown it in bad light, and therefore, now a need was being felt to change perception. (ANI)

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