Kaira also passes the buck to cable operators
ISLAMABAD: Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday the government had no role in blocking two television channels’ transmission, saying it was the result of a tug-of-war between two groups of cable operators.
Replying to a volley of questions after briefing the media persons about the latest flood situation and the losses caused and rescue and relief operations, the minister said there had been some issue between two Karachi-based groups of cable operators.
He said a few days back, the issue came to his notice and he had invited the two groups for a meeting, but one of them did not turn up. He added there were over 200 cable operators in Karachi.
He said that notices had been issued to the cable operators that had blocked transmission of certain television channels.The Pemra had already issued notices to three or four cable operators and, “We would investigate the issue and find out facts behind the incident,” he said.
The minister denied the government had a hand in the disruption of the two television channels’ transmission, saying if the ruling coalition had done so, it would have been for all the channels, as it happened in the past.
Kaira reiterated that the government believed in the freedom of media. He regretted his name was also dragged in the issue, as if he had been giving instructions against media while sitting in London.
About the burning of copies of the Jang Group newspapers, he said that an inquiry had already been ordered and those found responsible for this blatant act of ravage, would be taken to task.
Earlier, he said so far flood-related incidents had claimed 1513 lives, damaging 0.723 million houses. The minister noted that the central government was helping out the provinces to cope with the unprecedented flooding and they also were being alerted about the latest flood situation.
The minister pointed out the operational base was now shifted to Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Multan in Punjab and Sukkur in Sindh. “Relief items are unloaded at these stations to be transported and distributed to the flood-hit areas,” he maintained.
About the scale of damage caused by floods, Kaira noted, no final estimates could be made and said most of the statistics so far compiled, were based primarily on aerial views of the affected areas.
Qamar Zaman Kaira said in all so far 10.25 million persons had been affected by the natural calamity. The minister said that the on-going rescue and relief operation would continue till October 30, and the rehabilitation and reconstruction would start from December 01. Weather conditions in Gilgit Baltistan, he said, were hampering relief operations. About the foreign aid, the minister said so far dollar 95 million had reached Pakistan.
Source: The News