Cable operators asked to stop Indian channels
KARACHI- Pakistan Saturday asked cable operators to strictly observe a ban on broadcasting Indian television channels imposed some 19 months ago amid mounting tensions with arch-rival India.
“We have (re)enforced the ban as these channels do not come under the approved eligible list,” Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Mian Javed told sources.
The renewed calls for the ban came as a surprise to many viewers who were pleased at the resumption of Indian channels.
“The timing is surprising as the ban has come at a time when the peace process between Indian and Pakistan has started,” Rubina Jabber, a house-wife, said.
However, Javed denied the enforcement has anything to do with politics. “The ban on Indian channels also has economic implications as most of Indian channels were attracting Pakistani advertisements in large numbers,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
The ban affected Star Plus, Star News, Zee Cinema, Zee Gold, Sony and B4U, while PEMRA has also imposed a ban on broadcasting Indian DVDs and VCDs over cable networks, a senior official said.
Chairman of Cable Operators Association of Pakistan Khalid Sheikh confirmed that they have been told not to relay “Indian channels.”
“We will suffer a great financial loss as people will discontinue watching cable television when they will not find Indian channels over it,” Sheikh said.
Cable operators are desperately negotiating with PEMRA to allow Indian television channels.
No such ban has been imposed on the shops renting or selling Indian blockbuster video cassettes and compact discs, and the rental business is expecting to boom as the ban on television stations is reinforced, said Mohammad Irfan, owner of a video shop in the Clifton area in Karachi.
Source: Business Recorder