Suspension of ARY licence: Pemra’s decision widely criticized
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Aitzaz Ahsan has condemned Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) decision to suspend the licence of ARY News for 15 days and fine the channel Rs10 million, without serving it any notice.
“It seems to me that Pemra is not aware of its own laws,” Aitzaz said while speaking to ARY News. “There is no point in giving a decision against ARY News without giving the channel a chance to defend itself in a hearing.”
“The government has lost its senses,” he added.
Aitzaz said the licence of ARY News was suspended by the government in a bid to thwart any coverage of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri. He also said the channel was targeted in order to appease the Jang/Geo group.
“ARY News’ licence was suspended just as the suspension of Geo TV’s licences was lifted,” he said.
Aitzaz advised ARY to sue Pemra for Rs500 million. “ARY should file a case against Pemra… it would definitely win.”
The PPP senator also called on cable operators to boycott Pemra’s decision.
“How can Pemra suspend ARY’s licence when the matter is sub judice?” said PPP’s Rehman Malik while speaking to ARY News. “The prime minister should look into the matter,” he added.
Speaking to the news channel, PAT chief Dr Qadri said ARY News was punished because of its support for his party.
“ARY News exposed the culprits behind the Lahore incident. They [the govt] are trying to scare channels from covering my return,” he said. “I condemn this act and request cable operators not to take any orders [from Pemra].”
“You shouldn’t accept orders which go against the public’s interest.”