IHC reserves verdict in PBA's plea -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

IHC reserves verdict in PBA’s plea

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court Tuesday reserved its verdict in a petition of the Pakistan Broadcasting Association seeking stay order against PEMRA’s guidelines on Ramazan transmission for the last ten days of the holy month.

A single bench of IHC comprising Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing and reserved its verdict in the petition seeking stay orders. He also issued notices to the federation and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

The PBA moved the petition through its counsel Barrister Ali Zafar and adopted before the court that being aggrieved of PEMRA’s guidelines on Ramazan Transmissions 2018 dated 04-05-2018, the petitioner seeks the indulgence of this court in examining the same in view of the scope of powers granted to PEMRA under the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 and against the touchstones of Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. He prays that this court may declare the 2018 Ramazan Transmission Guidelines to be ultra vires of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and the Constitution of Pakistan and the same may be set aside.

The petitioner maintained that the 2018 Ramazan Transmissions Guidelines are ultra vires to the Constitution of Pakistan and the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. These guidelines are also ultra vires to the parent act, PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 and are beyond the scope of PEMRA’s powers. Furthermore, the above stated directions were not passed independently by PEMRA in their capacity as a regulator and are therefore coloured and these guidelines are completely contrary to the lawful licences granted by PEMRA to the licencees.

“By issuing the aforementioned guidelines, PEMRA has gone beyond the scope of their powers under the PEMRA Ordinance, 2002 and issued colourable guidelines which inter alia include among other illegal directions,” the petition added.

The counsel informed the court that item 5(a) of the guidelines – banning all entertainment programmes in which there is music, playing, enjoyment, dancing or exercise from being broadcast during Ramazan. It is submitted that the reason for doing so is based on the perception that all entertainment programmes in which there is music, playing, enjoyment, dancing or exercise etc. programmes are indecent, immoral and contrary to the interests of glory of Islam and hence not fit to be shown during the month of Ramazan.

He told that item 5(g) – only allowing people who are ‘knowledgeable’ in Islam to be able to air their opinions on Islam and Islamic belief during the period of Ramazan. It is submitted that the reason for doing so is based on the perception that the expression of opinions of people from different walks of life on Islam would be contrary to the interests of glory of Islam and hence not fit to be shown during the month of Ramazan while apparently such opinions are fit to be shown for months other than Ramadan.

Barrister Ali continued that item 5(h) – banning all programmes during Ramazan, which ask for donations for needy people (i.e. telethon shows which aim to raise funds for the needy). (Apparently such entertainment programmes are fit to be shown for months other than Ramazan). It is submitted that the reason for doing so is based on the perception that such programmes are indecent, immoral and contrary to the interests of glory of Islam.

He added that item 5(p) – directing all entertainment programmes during the period of Ramazan to be aired after 9:00 pm and to be completely banned in the last 10 days of Ramazan.

It is submitted that the reason for doing so is based on the perception that entertainment programmes are indecent, immoral and contrary to the interests of glory of Islam and should not be shown during fasting times.

Therefore, he prayed that this court may declare PEMRA’s guidelines on Ramazan Transmissions as illegal, colourable, ultra vires to the PEMRA Ordinance and the Constitution of Pakistan and may set aside the same.

The Nation