Countrywide protests against ban on ARY
PESHAWAR/KARACHI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Thousands of people across the country took to the streets on Saturday to protest against the suspension of ARY News’s licence by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
The media watchdog, on Friday, suspended the channel’s licence for 15 days and imposed on it a fine of Rs10 million.
In Islamabad, hundreds of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) activists assembled at Aabpara Chowk and condemned the ban on the news channel. The protestors demanded Pemra lift the ban on ARY News and called the decision an attack on freedom of speech. They blocked the road for an hour and later dispersed peacefully.
PAT activists also held a demonstration in front of Karachi Press Club, saying ARY News was being punished for “exposing the true face of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that orchestrated the deadly melee outside the residence of Dr Tahirul Qadri in which 12 people were killed.”
“The government appears completely at a loss as it has resorted to similar practices that were employed by dictatorial regimes earlier,” said Qaiser Iqbal Qadri, PAT Karachi president, while talking to The Express Tribune.
In Lahore, a large number of journalists gathered on the Mall to protest against the ban on ARY News. They demanded the ban be lifted by June 25 or protests and rallies would be organised across the country. The Khyber Union of Journalists in Peshawar also staged protest against the ban imposed on ARY News. They said Pemra imposed the ban without giving any show cause notice.