BBC World to flag off Indo-Pak season on Friday

MUMBAI: Taking a cue from the recent surge in track-two diplomacy between India and Pakistan, BBC World has lined up a series of special programmes in an effort to examine the present relationship between the two countries and the history behind their love-hate bond.

Focusing on the current political and religious climate in the two countries, the special India Pakistan season is slated to be a showcase of documentaries, debates, profiles and other programmes.

"Given the continued diplomatic moves to thaw relations between India and Pakistan, we thought it timely to screen this special season of groundbreaking programmes, which examine the history of the two nations and look at the present state of their relationship," says BBC World commissioning editor Narendhra Morar.

The season kicks off this Friday, 22 August with a special edition of Question Time India (QTI) presented by Vikram Chandra of NDTV. Coming from Srinagar for the first time ever, this edition will discuss the issues facing the Kashmiri people.

Two more special editions of QTI are slated for Friday, 29 August and Friday, 5 September. While the second edition debates the growing divide between the secularists and the Hindu nationalists, for the third special edition, BBC World is deviating from its regular format to have key politicians and commentators from Pakistan answer questions from an Indian audience in New Delhi.

Also lined up are documentaries such as Mullah Power. The documentary presented by Zubeida Malek, traces the growth and influence of Islam and the mullahs over the past half-century. She examines how the religious coalition that controls Northwest Frontier Province will now use its power and asks whether the West should be concerned that radical Islamic parties, having won major political victories last year in Pakistan, are now the second largest block in the national assembly. Mullah Power airs on 23 August at 1am and 4pm, on 24 August at 12pm, on 25 August at 2am and 7pm, on 26 August at 10pm, and on 27 August at 6am and 1pm.

Exploring the rise of Hindu nationalism in India is another documentary presented by Sir Mark Tully, Hindu Nation. Through the documentary, Mark Tully investigates the political belief that a violently polarised election can yield good electoral results. It airs on 23 August at 7:40pm and on 24 August at 2:40am, 2:40pm and 11:40pm.

Again in Kashmir: Paradise Lost, Tully examines the history of the disputed Kashmir territory. Looking at the unsuccessful attempts at peace, he asks why political leaders appear to be at a standoff. It airs on 30 August at 7:40pm and on 31 August at 2:40am, 2:40pm, and 11:40pm.

BBC World's India-Pakistan Season also includes Pervez Musharraf: Profile, an in-depth look at the life of the Pakistani President, featuring commentary from his friends and enemies, as well as the President himself. Profile is slated to be aired on 30 August at 1am and 4pm, 31 August at 12pm, 1 September at 2am and 7pm, 2 September at 10pm, and on 3 September at 6am and 1pm.

The season closes with the debate titled India & Pakistan: Partners or Rivals? where BBC World presenter Kirsty Lang discusses the relationship between the two nuclear powers with leading thinkers from politics, business and the arts. The debate airs on 30 August at 1:40pm and 5:40pm, and on 31 August at 12:40am and 8:40pm.

With a fortnight of special programming up its sleeve, BBC World is all set to cash in on the hot and cold Indo-pak situation.

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