Altaf calls for restoration of TV channels
KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief, Altaf Hussain, called upon the cable operators to restore Geo TV and other channels on their original numbers forthwith across the country and told them they should not accept the pressure being exerted from any quarter. He said that the cable operators should restore the Geo News and other channels forthwith as the channels had paid the price for the mistake they had committed inadvertently.
Altaf Hussain was informally speaking to journalists via phone at the Karachi Press club on Thursday. He said, “Geo News has been punished enough for its one mistake, now it should be pardoned.”
He asked the cable operators not to come under the influence of any quarter and restore the Geo News as soon as possible. “Geo News has been punished for its misdeed,” said Altaf adding that no man on earth was without mistakes and no one could say that he did not commit a mistake. “The closure of Geo News not only affected its employees but also their families,” said the MQM chief.
Addressing the federal government and intelligence agencies especially, he said that the penalty Geo News was given was over and now it should be on air.At the same time, he lauded the sacrifices of media persons, saying that journalists rendered great sacrifices for the rights of masses. They faced jail for the freedom of expression, democracy, restoration of the Constitution and the rule of law. “Their life always remained under threat and they are also playing their part in dispensing justice in the country.”
He also asked the employers to end ad hocism as their workers were their strength without which they could not run newspapers or the electronic media.Referring to the attempt on the life of Geo News anchor Hamid Mir, he said that Mir miraculously escaped and in consequence the statement of his brother was not correct. Altaf added the channel had already been punished and it should be restored immediately.
He also paid tributes to journalists who bravely fought in the war against terrorism.Geo, he said, was a major network and the programme relayed on the network should have been monitored before it went on air.
It was, however, unknown whether the programme producer sought permission from the high-ups but questioned why the poor and innocent people were being punished as bread and butter of thousands of people and its families was linked to the Geo Group.
He, however, said that despite the fact that Geo News had completed its punishment imposed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for 15 days, it was still off air which was surprising. “Who is closing Geo and on whose order, God knows better.”
He asked the cable operators that as Eid was drawing near, for God’s sake they should not play with the lives of the common man. He said it was a sensitive issue and asked the cable operators not to budge to the pressure and restore the Geo News.
He pointed out that the operation in North Waziristan was going on and if Geo News remained off air, how the people would come to know about the operation and if access to information was denied, it would have ultimate reaction.
While he was delivering his speech, President Karachi Press Club informed the gathering that Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid asked the Pemra to ensure immediate restoration of Geo News and take action against those cable operators who were reluctant to restore the channels.About Major General (retd) Athar Abbas’s statement on ex-army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, he said it was his own viewpoint.