New Delhi, March 24: Did you know that the maximum and the minimum temperature in the “Indian” city of Muzaffarabad on Friday were 27 degrees and 10 degrees Celsius, respectively' And that it was 26/10 degrees Celsius for the “Indian” cities of Gilgit, 16/13 degrees for Skardu and 22/8 degrees for Chitral'
If you did not, you have not been watching Doordarshan News carefully of late.
Since early this week, it has all been there in the scroll on the left-hand bottom corner of the screen ' daily temperature forecasts starting from Ahmedabad and going in alphabetic order to Visakhapatnam and then (surprise, surprise) to Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Skardu and Chitral.
For the first time in history, the government has decided to follow a forward policy on weather forecasting. Ordinary Indians may be forgiven for not linking weather forecasts to territorial claims but the strong, silent foreign policy wonks in the external affairs ministry on the Pakistan desk know better.
Just when one thought they were a bunch of the deadly boring sub-species of bureaucrats who keep our nationalism aggressive, they show themselves up as imaginative and interesting.
Boy, am I pleased that I now know what the weather in Chitral is going to be. Ever since the Mehtar of Chitral Saif-ur Rehman secretly married the woman who was engaged to the Nawab of Dhir and had to be spirited away to Peshawar by air, one had not heard any gossip about Chitral. Now we will get solid daily information ' maximum and minimum temperature.
More seriously though, this apparently is the Indian response, tit-for-tat or temp-for-temp, to Pakistan TV showing the daily weather forecasts for Srinagar. A resolution of the Indian Parliament claims as Indian the whole of pre-Partition Jammu and Kashmir. Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Skardu and Chitral were part of Jammu and Kashmir then.
While Gilgit and Skardu have now been parcelled out as the so-called Northern Areas (not considered by Pakistan to be a constituent of “Azad” Kashmir), Chitral acceded to Pakistan when its then Mehtar Muzaffar-ul-Mulk made a declaration to this effect in August 1947.
Later, in July 1970, Chitral was made a district of the Malakand division of the North West Frontier Province.