FM radio station’s operations suspended
FM 103, a private FM radio station in Lahore, the capital of the central province of Punjab in Pakistan had to suspend its transmission after police took control of its premises on the evening of November 12.
Press reports quoting senior police official said orders to take action against the radio station came from higher authorities. The police action came a case had been registered against the radio station under the Maintenance of Public Order law.
Channel’s station manager Shafqatullah said around 25 policemen had raided the station premises and arrested three staffers, Arshad, Abdul Ghafoor and Nauman. Arshad.
The staffers were later released. Shafqatullah claimed that most of the equipment had been seized by police, causing the suspension of transmission.
Earlier in the week police had arrested two journalists working for the channel after they were accused of holding a protest against the government’s health policies on the
premises of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC). The two journalists, Farhat Abbas Shah and Afaq Shah, were accused of putting on air provocative material which, according to police, was likely to disturb public peace. On November 11, court granted bail to the two journalists. The police action was apparently triggered by a controversial report earlier in the week in which the working of the PIC had been criticized.
The radio had been broadcasting news bulletins produced British Broadcasting CorporationÂ’s Urdu service, which apparently brought it into conflict with the official regulatory authorities. As for the health programme, Mr Shafqatullah said, it had been run by current affairs programme manager Farhat Abbas Shah without the consent of the FM-103 administration. However, he said he believed that this was not the real issue and that BBC broadcasts could be the reason behind it.