Operators under pressure to give common statement
By Ahmad Noorani
ISLAMABAD: Representatives of the four cable operators summoned by the Supreme Court on Tuesday gathered at Pemra headquarters in Sector G-8, Islamabad, on Monday night to devise a unanimous strategy for a common statement before the apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday.
Pemra sources disclosed that some influential officials of the Information Ministry were also present in this meeting.
All the four cable operators’ representatives, according to Pemra sources, were pressurized to make a joint statement before the apex court to save the government from further embarrassment. A senior Pemra official disclosed that these cable operators were given the photocopies of FIRs, registered in different police stations of Karachi.
The cable operators were asked to present these copies to the court and tell the court that they have properly registered FIRs against threats being hurled at them by some ‘unidentified persons’.
The Pemra sources said that the main objective of the meeting was to make the representatives of cable operators agree on one point that they were receiving threats from ‘unidentified persons’ and that they didn’t know anything about any of the person or persons who threatened them or attacked their offices.
The sources said that a famous Karachi cable operator was asked to change his early statements he made before the media and didn’t point out towards any government or official personality as hurling threats at him and simply say that some ‘unidentified persons’ were doing this and that he properly registered FIRs of these incidents.
According to reliable sources, after the hearing of the Geo case on 13th of this month, such a situation was created that cable operators were forced to register FIRs against unknown persons so that it is proved in the court. That serious situation did exist and a natural crime was committed. These FIRs were registered under the pressure and with the permission of rulers.
The Pemra sources said despite intense pressure of the Information Ministry, two or the four cable operator were expected to tell the court the exact happenings.
These two cable operators, according to the sources, fear that the court could dig out the truth and if they told a lie they might have to face the consequences afterwards. They are also expected to name the party that is behind putting pressure of cable operators.
These cable operators fear that if they misinformed the court and the court called other cable operators, their lies could be exposed. It is the fear of independent judiciary that made these two cable operators to make up their minds to tell the truth in the court.
PEMRA Chairman Mushtaq Malik, who was the host of this meeting, when approached by The News admitted gathering of all the four representatives of the Karachi-based cable operators in Pemra headquarters. Mushtaq, however, insisted that these representatives were gathered at the Pemra headquarters to attend the hearing on the showcase notices served on them.
Asked for such a hearing these operators should have been called in Pemra’s Karachi office, Mushtaq Insisted that they have come to Islamabad to attend this personal hearing. Mushtaq didn’t clarified to what was the need of this personal hearing when these four representatives were to appear before the Supreme Court along with the Pemra chairman and that what was the emergency to conduct this hearing late at night.
It is worth mentioning here that in para 15 and 16 of its interim order on Monday, the Supreme Court clearly pointed towards the alleged conspiracy of silence against the media channels by Pemra and some of the cable operators, including World Call with connivance of each other.
Source: The News