Pemra told to decide on plaints against Nawaz’s rant
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to hold its meeting on complaints received against contemptuous material being broadcast on television channels and submit a report.
Justice Shahid Karim issued the order hearing a petition against alleged contemptuous and anti-judiciary speeches of former primer minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other leaders of PML-N.
Earlier, Pemra’s counsel Azam Zia told the court that the complaint council of the authority received complaints against the speeches of PML-N leadership. He said the authority would take action if recommended by the council.
Justice Karim observed that the Pemra itself should have taken action without waiting for the recommendations of the complaint council. The judge directed the petitioner’s counsel to transmit all the record of alleged contemptuous speeches to Pemra’s counsel and also asked the authority to convene a meeting on the matter and submit a report by Feb 28.
Petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique had pleaded that Mr Sharif started a vilification campaign against the state institutions since his disqualification in Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court. He said Maryam Nawaz also joined the campaign of her father and launched into a tirade against the judiciary.
Referring to ongoing public meetings being addressed by Sharif and his daughter, the counsel said the speeches delivered by the respondents amounted to contempt of court and they were liable to be punished under the law.
The lawyer further said that the former premier and his daughter had not only been criticising judgments of the apex court but also directly trying to scandalise the judges, which amounted to committing sedition against the state.
Advocate Siddique said the Pemra had failed to implement its code of conduct against airing of hate speeches and stuff containing defamation and contempt.
He asked the court to order the Pemra to ban broadcasting of hate speeches by the respondents as it could lead to anarchy in the country. Moreover, he said the act of the respondents was not only a contempt of court in view of article 204 of the Constitution but also sedition.
He also sought suspension of the licences of television channels for airing hate material, hate speeches and derogatory remarks against the state institutions. Amina Malik of Civil Society Network had filed the petition.