Defence ministry hints at appealing Pemra decision
ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the ministry will appeal against a decision of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) suspending transmission of Geo TV for a fortnight and imposing a Rs10 million fine on the channel.
In a statement, he said the “Ministry of Defence is absolutely not satisfied with the penalty awarded by Pemra to Geo after declaring it guilty of misconduct”.
The statement, received through an SMS from the media cell of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, appears to have been written in haste as it contains grammatical mistakes.
It said: “We reserve the right to take it up the matter at the next appellate level for enhancement of punishment awarded to Geo. We are ready and anxiously waiting to reply the suit filed by Geo and are fully prepared to defend the charges levelled by Geo against ministry of defence and ISI in the court of law.”
On April 23, the defence ministry had submitted to Pemra a complaint signed by Khawaja Asif, accusing Geo TV of running a campaign aimed at maligning the image of the Inter-Services Intelligence following an attack on TV anchor Hamid Mir in Karachi on April 19.
Talking to Dawn, a senior official of the information ministry said the defence ministry had the choice to move either the Islamabad High Court or the Supreme Court because the Pemra Ordinance had no binding over it.
“There have been stay orders issued by the Sindh High Court against decisions of Pemra in the past,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pemra’s private member Israr Abbasi has termed Khawaja Asif’s statement a move to create confusion.
“While Khawaja Asif has demanded stern action against Geo, including cancellation of its licence, his cabinet colleague Pervaiz Rashid has said that shutdown of any channel will not be allowed,” he said.