Asia

Pakistan bans all Indian TV and radio as tensions mount

Pakistani men sit on a bus driving past a cinema displaying a billboard of the Indian and Pakistan joint venture movie 'Ramchand Pakistani' in Karachi. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is not clear if joint Pakistani-Indian films, like Ramchand Pakistani, will be affected by the ban

Pakistan has banned all television and radio content from India and threatened to shut down any stations that flout the sanction.

The ban drew immediate criticism from cable operators and viewers in Pakistan, where Indian soaps and Bollywood films are popular.

It follows a souring in relations between the south Asian neighbours.

Tensions have run high since India cracked down on protests in Indian-administered Kashmir in July.

Relations worsened in September when militants attacked an army base there, killing 18 soldiers.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan - a claim Pakistan denies.

Pakistan's blanket TV and radio ban follows a tit-for-tat series of restrictions in both countries' respective media industries.

There were calls in India after the Kashmir attack for a ban on Pakistani actors and actresses in the country's Bollywood film industry.

Pakistani cinemas responded by banning Bollywood films and some Indian channels.

The new blanket ban has not gone down well with viewers. "My wife is in grief ever since the ban has come into effect," Saleem Ahmed, 55, an art gallery curator in Karachi, told Reuters.

Rubina Jan Muhammad, a 30-year-old maid, said: "What entertainment do we have apart from watching Indian dramas?

"We cannot go out of our homes, our male family members don't like us going out apart from for work."

Disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir has been a flashpoint for decades and has sparked two wars between India and Pakistan, which both control parts of the territory.

More than 80 people, nearly all anti-government protesters, have died in more than two months of violence against Indian rule.

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