Pemra, cable operators poised to defy SC verdict again -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra, cable operators poised to defy SC verdict again

Ahmad Noorani

ISLAMABAD: Following the Presidency’s strategy to destroy the Geo-Jang Group in revenge to expose NRO and other corruption cases, in his latest move, Pemra’s acting Chairman Dr Jabbar has directed the cable operators across the country to send a notice to their respective Pemra’s regional offices intimating that the operators will re-shuffle the channel numbers in next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, a top cable operator leader said the Supreme Court order is not superior than law, and the Pemra chairman has asked them that Geo Super could be off-aired despite the apex court’s judgment.

The chairman has also asked the cable operators to continue disturbing Geo Super signal and be ready to off-air it during shuffling if asked by the Pemra headquarters.

Despite different superior judiciary verdicts, the cable operators in connivance with the Pemra chief continued disturbing and freezing Geo Super signals during the telecast of ICC cricket World Cup 2011 matches; and during the most important Pakistan-Australia match, the cable operators on direct instructions from Dr Jabbar went on strike only during the match duration and pleased President Asif Ali Zardari.

In this latest move, when only four important matches of the biggest ever cricketing event including semi-finals and final are remaining, Dr Jabbar has made a new strategy and directed the cable operators to send notices to all the regional offices of Pemra across the country intimating the authority that they will change/shuffle the numbers of different channels across the country. These cable operators are being asked by the chairman that they should remain ready for off-airing the Geo Super during this re-shuffling process as the channel could be off-aired during the most important semi-final matches on the government directions.

Dr Jabbar was repeatedly contacted on his different numbers but he didn’t take calls. Senior leader of Cable Operators Association of Pakistan (CAP) and president of its Balochistan chapter Babrik Khan while talking to The News said that Pemra Chairman Dr Jabbar has asked them that as per law the Geo Super could he off-aired on a 48 hours notice despite the court orders. Babrik Khan gave his own legal interpretation, saying the cable operators could shuffle the channel numbers on 48 hours notice. He didn’t give reference of this rule or law. Babrik said that there were more than 127 channels while only 85 channels could be shown so it was not possible to show all the channels. He said that though the Supreme Court has ordered must airing of Geo Super but law says that cable operators must show PTV. “Now, see the Supreme Court couldn’t make laws and we are bound to laws only which are made by the Parliament,” Babrik said, adding: “If some new law is to be made it could only be made by the Parliament.”

Babrik said the cable operators will issue this 48 hours notice to Pemra regional offices today (Saturday) and Geo Super could be off-aired as cricket match is available on PTV. Babrik said that Pemra’s acting Chairman Dr Jabbar has also asked them that according to law they can off-air the Geo Super.

Top legal expert and counsel of Geo in the Supreme Court, Barrister Akram Sheikh, while talking to The News, said that all the Supreme Court judgements and orders are made in accordance with Pemra laws, rules and cable operators’ regulations. Sheikh said that no order of the apex court was made on its own and every order was based on Pemra laws and rules. He said the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court in their different judgements have ordered that neither Geo Super could be off-aired nor its channel number could be changed in any way. He said that no Pemra law or rule allows any cable operators to do so. Akram Sheikh said that if the government, Pemra, any government authority or the cable operators do any such thing they will be confronting the Supreme Court orders and will be responsible for any legal action.

It is pertinent to mention here that besides all this planning, even presently Geo Super signal is being disturbed and frozen in different cities across the country. Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other provincial chief ministers, heads of different government departments, different state institutions and all functionaries are silent spectators of government war against Geo-Jang Group.

Different Pemra officials in their on-the-record and off-the-record statements are confirming that Pemra acting Chairman Dr Jabbar is in consistent touch with the cable operators and directing them to disturb Geo Super signals whereas when he communicates in written he directs them to follow apex court orders.
Source: The News
Date:3/26/2011