Ban on cable TV declared void by Peshawar High Court -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ban on cable TV declared void by Peshawar High Court

PESRAWAR- A two-member bench of Peshawar High Court (PHC) allowed operation of six cable network television companies in the posh Hayatabad Township of Peshawar city and annulled current official ban on such relay.

The court, however, directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to establish a regional monitoring committee in Peshawar to keep a cheek on the private companies against relay of objectionable or immoral material.

Justice Nasirul Mulk, while announcing the judgement to a jam-packed court, declared ban on the cable television networks as illegal and unlawful. Other member of the bench was Justice Malik Hamid Saeed.

A number of leaders and workers of different religious organisations and students from religious schools had turned up to witness the final-day proceedings of the court, hearing six identical petitions.

Additional Advocate General Imtiaz Ahmad argued before the court that the ban had to be imposed to avoid the worsening of law and order situation in Hayatabad Township.

The six Hayatabad-based companies moved the Peshawar High Court through identical writ petitions against the administration order on June 15.

Former attorney general Qazi Muhammad Jamil, representing the petitioners, argued that no administrative action in Pakistan could be executed without a backing by a piece of law. The order to ban cable television network, he added, is even violative of the rules and regulations of the PTA.

Secondly, Qazi Muhammad Jamil added, the subject is entirely federal and provincial government cannot intervene into the same. The operators have been issued licences to operate under a statute. The PTA can even penalise them for violating the set rules and regulations, the former attorney general said. He maintained that the monitoring of the companies is so powerful that there exists no chance for the cable operators to relay anything objectionable or immoral. Qazi Jamil further added that the licences are issued to a limited number of applicants.

Qazi Jamil further said the trade is revenue generating and should not be discouraged. He added if somebody has any objection he should approach the PTA and lodge a complaint with them. He said the local administration has no authority to impose a ban on a company, operating under a permission by the federal government.

Former Supreme Court Bar Association of office-bearer Barrister Baachaa, arguing on behalf of the petitioners, said Article 18 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 allows every citizen of the country to earn a living and to trade through legal and lawful means. This right of the citizens, he added, cannot be snatched by any administrative order or even any law or the constitution.

Source: The News
Date:7/6/2000