Plea against Geo filed with PM’s nod, says Khawaja Asif
LAHORE: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Wednesday said that he took full responsibility of the reference filed with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) against Geo TV for vilifying Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
“I hold to my petition of treason against Geo TV. The charge is correct as endangering the integrity of the country and its institutions is treason,” he said, talking to the host of a TV programme.
He said he did not jump to blaming Geo. “Rather I gave it proper consideration before charging the channel with treason.”
Asif said suspending the transmission of Geo TV was a just decision; however the duration of suspension (15 days) was less.
The minister said he filed the application to Pemra with the permission of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“The prime minister and Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid were also present at the time of approval of the application. I told the prime minister and he immediately approved the petition,” he said.
Asif clarified that he had not signed on a plain paper, rather he had signed an application.
He said he would not become a party in anyone’s battle for rating. “I shall defend the army. If Geo feels that the blame of treason is not just, it should give its arguments and refute and I shall resign,” he added.
He said he still owned his speech of 2006 though he felt that it was not just to show a very old recording like this. “All the institutions including the parliament and the media should confine themselves to their limits,” he said.
The minister claimed that the government had seriously tried to explore the option of talks with Taliban but in his personal opinion the state had further weakened after the initiation of talks process. He said that the strategy vis-à-vis Taliban would have to be finalised within a couple of days.
Talking about Musharraf’s treason trial, he said: “Our principled stand has been that the law should be equal for Musharraf, the media and the common man.”
He drew attention to the fact that no suo motu notice had been taken of the killing of citizens and the soldiers. The families of the martyrs were not allowed to enter the courts of law, he added.