‘Pemra’s regional GM reported anchor’s highhandedness in his letter to chairman’ | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

‘Pemra’s regional GM reported anchor’s highhandedness in his letter to chairman’

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Pemra’s clarification is in negation of the incident report signed by Regional General Manager Lahore Ikram Barkat that he also submitted on February 14, 2002 to Pemra chairman who was also insulted by the anchor during WhatsApp call.

It’s file number is 14 (02)/RO-LHR/97/34192. This correspondent can provide in case Pemra Headquarter has buried it somewhere in order to hush up the matter. The incident as narrated in the incident report belies official clarification which has termed it “an outcome of misunderstanding.” A few excerpts from the incident report submitted by Pemra Lahore office merits mention to belie the impression created in Pemra’s clarification.

The incident report reads: “It is to inform that on 13.02.2002 at around 3pm the undersigned (Ikram Barkat) was sitting in office with a guest when a well-known journalist/anchor along with two persons in civil dress and three armed persons in police uniform entered Pemra Regional Office Lahore. The journalist/anchor and his companions came on white Toyota Corolla bearing green number plate ‘LEG-123’. He entered office while shouting and directing his companions to seal the premises and close the doors of office and that no one should be allowed to enter or exit from office (koi na bhagay yahan say, gate band kar do, DVR qabzay mein lay lo, seal kar do etc.). He further shouted ‘where DVR or CCTV cameras installed in the office is.’ He quickly approached RGM Office, then moved to conference room and instructed his men to confiscate the DVR of CCTV cameras. Few Pemra officials, being panic of the situation tried to stop the people accompanied by the journalist/anchor. The police officials tried to manhandle the Pemra’s officials as well.

However, after hearing the shouting, the undersigned immediately came out of my office and tried to control the situation. I asked the journalist/anchor to come into my office, sit and talk about the matter. I asked him multiple times that what the matter is and why he is behaving like that. But instead of responding and telling about the issue, he kept on shouting and misbehaving. However, I managed to bring him in my office room. He, along with all his companions came in my office. The person in police uniform, on instructions of said journalist/anchor, locked the door of my office from insides and asked the persons in police uniform to stay alert with weapons at the door inside.”

Then the incident report explains the cause behind this fuss. The anchor had been fined after his allegations aired on TV relating the corruption of a provincial minister turned out baseless. Instead of availing legal remedy, the anchor attacked at Pemra office holding its officials hostage. In the next excerpt, Ikram Barkat explains what the anchor did there.

“It is also pertinent to mention that the said journalist/anchor used/took names of high officials of Pemra including the chairman and tried to give an impression that as if they all are his subordinates and would act as per his wishes as he has been doing a lot for them in the past. There are many things in conversation which I even cannot report in order to protect dignity and honor of the organisation and higher posts; however, I can inform everything in person. Moreover, the journalist/anchor used/took names of higher officials of all the important security agencies, armed forces, higher judiciary etc. and tried to give an impression that he is very influential and he also got the support of all the named institutions. This was all done just to pressurise the Pemra officials and to get the order of COC (Council of Complaints) withdrawn. He also told us that he has powers given by the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan to seal any premises and office and he had the seals available in his vehicle to doso. For confirmation, he just asked his companions to endorse his point of view which was duly endorsed by them. For reference, he quoted an incident where he sealed a hospital for three days. He also asked about cell number of chairperson of council of complaints. He further said that it is in his hand to revalidate the appointment period of council members and he will see whether their tenure is to be revalidated or not. He also kept on asking us that what is our opinion in this matter i.e. whether to revalidate their tenure or not?”

The incident report of Ikram Barkat, Regional General Manager of Pemra Lahore continues: “I along with my officers faced all this for almost three hours. Lately, the said journalist/anchor went apologetic (which was also in a threatening way) and asked for forgiveness if anything was felt by the present officials of Pemra. He sent his boy to bring refreshment (Pizzas) for Pemra officials as a goodwill gesture which his boy brought which was half-heartedly served to available Pemra staff. After that he left office at around 6pm saying us to withdraw the order or to issue corrigendum.”

After leaving the place, the anchor called again to Ikram Barkat, according to the incident report. “During conversation he again talked few mixed and ambiguous things and categorically asked me ‘Maza aya aaj.’ Some of the conversation of the event (both audio & video), recorded through mobile phones are also enclosed for ready reference in a USB.”

The above-reported excerpts are not my brainwork but the quotes from incident report submitted by Ikram Barkat to Pemra chairman. Instead of taking action on it, he is dismissive when the same has been reported by this correspondent. The News stands by its story.

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