Ban on Indian channels to stay, Senate told -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ban on Indian channels to stay, Senate told

ISLAMABAD:Jan.20: The government would not lift a ban on the Indian channels, Minister for Information Sheikh Rashid Ahmad told the Senate here Monday.

He defended the performance of the PTV and explained the steps the government had taken to improve it. He said many positive changes were being introduced since he took the office of information minister.

He said 11 new channels were in the offing. New equipment had been purchased to improve the quality. Opposition is getting better coverage on the PTV, he claimed. He said there was no obscenity on the PTV. “We can neither make it a “maulvi” nor a full liberal TV channel. We are simply following values of our society. To collect revenues, we have to give some liberty”. Many senators praised the performance of the PTV while others criticised it for what they alleged its sub-standard drama, and biased and selected coverage.

MMA members objected to the liberal policy of the PTV and asked the government to observe Islamic teachings while showing dramas that were only guiding the people how to fall in love. One of the MMA senator even claimed that the level of PTV had fallen to such an extent that now even spouses could not sit together to watch some of its objectionable programmes.

A woman senator from treasury benches criticised the MMA senators and asked them why were they watching such “obscene” programmes on the PTV if they did not like them at all. Because of the absence of federal ministers from the Senate at least 10 bills on agenda could not be tabled.

Senate Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro took a serious note of the absence of almost a dozen ministers. He asked Leader of the House Wasim Sajjad to ensure their presence. Education Minister Zubaida Jalal, Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Commerce Minister Hamayun Akthar, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, Parliamentary Minister Raza Hayat Hiraj were among the ministers found missing to the much embarrassment of the treasury benches.

Opposition members assailed the government for lack of interest by the ministers in the proceedings. Raza Rabbani pointed out to the chairman that once again ministers were missing from the House despite the fact that very important bills both from the treasury and opposition benches were to be tabled.

Rabbani said the opposition was giving business to the House, but the government side look disinterested in the proceedings. PPPP Senator Anwar Beg raised the issue of death of illegal Pakistanis on foreign shores.

He asked what kind of steps were being taken by the government to stop human smuggling and punish those who were plundering the innocent people in the name of sending them to advanced countries. Maulana Gul Naseeb criticised raids on religious madaris. He said the House be informed about the kind of weapons and other equipment the law enforcement agencies had found from those schools so far. The PPPP Senator, Latif Khosa, claimed that the government was planning to bring the total number of Supreme Court judges to 11 from the existing 17. He warned that it would make more difficult for higher judiciary to deliver as it was already facing huge backlog of cases.

Senator Khalid Ranjha had to face serious criticism when he tried to defend the likely decrease in the total number of SC judges. He was questioned by senators that in which capacity he was defending and replying to questions and concerns of the opposition senators. They commented that perhaps Mr Ranjah was eying the Law Ministry.

Source: The News
Date:1/20/2004