PM revokes Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) ban on telecasting Imran’s speeches -
Pakistan Press Foundation

PM revokes Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) ban on telecasting Imran’s speeches

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The supporters and workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) staged demonstrations in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other cities on third day on Saturday to protest against attack on PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, the federal government directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to immediately revoke its ban on broadcasting PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s speeches.

In their protest the PTI supporters blocked roads, and burnt tyres posing problems for commuters heading home.

PTI chief Imran Khan on Friday had urged his supporters to continue protest against the attack until those who he had alleged to have plotted the attack resigned from their positions.

In Karachi, PTI leaders and workers organised a protest rally from Numaish Chowrangi to Tibet Center throwing the traffic on one of the main traffic corridors of the city into utter turmoil.

The rally was organised on the call of PTI senior leader Asad Umar who on his Twitter said that protests will take place in all major cities. “There would be protest gatherings in all the cities of Pakistan tomorrow [Saturday] at 5 o’clock. The local organizations of the party will decide protest venue in each city”.

Hundreds of PTI supporters and workers including a large number of women activists reached Numaish Chowrangi to stage the protest. They blocked the road and chanted slogans against the federal and provincial governments. One of the worst traffic jams was observed in Namaish Chowrangi and surrounding areas. However, a heavy contingent of police force used water cannons to control the protestors.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI Sindh leader Khurram Sherzaman said people were afraid and no one was ready to raise voices. “We will fight for Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan who is dearer to us than our parents. We will never stand against our army.”

Also at Rawalpindi’s Faizabad Interchange, the PTI workers and police clashed after the protesters pelted stones at them, prompting them to fire tear gas shells in return. The PTI workers also blocked the Faizabad Interchange, blocking the traffic coming from Rawalpindi.

Long queues of vehicles were formed while the protesters also raised slogans against the government. PTI leader Sheikh Rashid Shafiq and former provincial minister Raja Rashid Hafeez also participated in the protest.

Reportedly, the protesters also attempted to vandalise a petrol pump at Faizabad but the security guards of the fuel station dispersed them. Protesters also burned tyres at Rawat in Islamabad and blocked the GT Road due to which commuters faced difficulties as traffic came to a standstill.

The Islamabad police resorted to shelling on protesters after they attempted to advance towards the federal capital, which pushed the protesters to march back towards Murree Road. Likewise, a demonstration was also held in Attock where the protesters blocked the Bahtar Interchange.

At Lahore’s Liberty Chowk, PTI leaders Shafqat Mehmood, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Musrat Jamshed and others addressed the protesters.

The protests and sit-ins are taking place at eight places in the city. Lahore Ring Road is closed for traffic while protesters have also closed Abdullah Gul Interchange for traffic in the city. A report was compiled by the Provincial Intelligence Centre on PTI’s protest, according to which the PTI workers are protesting at 32 places across Punjab.

In Peshawar, PTI workers in large numbers blocked motorway and suspended traffic.

Similarly in Multan, PTI workers protested and blocked roads leading to the Biliwala interchange in protest against the assassination attempt on Imran Khan.

The protestors led by South Punjab PTI vice president MPA Zain Hussein Qureshi chanted slogans against the assassination attempt terming it a cruel example of state terrorism.

Speaking on the occasion MPA Zain Hussein Qureshi said the murderous attack on Imran was very worrying and added that despite the passage of 48 hours, the FIR could not be registered. This is a big question mark, he said.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government directs Pemra to lift the ban on airing Imran’s speeches by invoking Section 5 of Pemra Act. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had reversed the ban imposed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority on television channels from airing Imran Khan’s speeches.

The directives for lifting the ban on Imran’s speeches were issued to Pemra by the prime minister in accordance with the law which granted such powers to the Federal Government, the minister said in a news statement. She said the prime minister issued these directives to Pemra by invoking its section 5.

Marriyum said PM Shehbaz Sharif had also directed Pemra to ensure full compliance with Article 19 of the Constitution.

 

The minister said PM Shehbaz Sharif had set a new tradition by bringing an end to the bitter traditions of Imran Khan’s era. “We do not believe in what has been done by Imran Khan with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and other political leaders during his four-year rule,” she remarked. The minister said the federal government led by Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif fully believed in democratic norms and the constitutional right of freedom of expression. She said it was Imran Khan who imposed restrictions on his political opponents, leaders, activists and media.

She said Imran Khan was free to churn out lies against his opponents. The minister said Imran Khan’s speeches against the coalition government should reach to the public so they could know the reality of “Fitna”. Imran Khan’s supporters, she said, would have to understand the reality of this “Fitna” and his mischief and lies. She said the current government believed in democratic norms and values, but ironically Imran Khan had a fascist mindset.

Earlier, the Pemra had imposed a ban on all satellite TV channels from broadcasting and rebroadcasting PTI chief Imran Khan’s speeches and press conferences

According to a notice issued, the regulatory authority said that Khan during his long march speeches a day ago had “made aspersions against the state institutions by levelling baseless allegations for orchestrating an assassination plan”.

It added that airing such content was likely to create “hatred among the people or was prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or was likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity or endanger national security”.

In a statement issued in Karachi, Pakistan Broadcaster Association (PBA) took notice of the ban imposed on covering of speeches of Imran Khan by Pemra. The statement added that the PBA will explore its legal options and proceed accordingly after consulting its members and lawyers.

Similarly, the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (Aemend) has termed Pemra’s gag order a bar on the freedom of expression.

In its statement, Aemend said the constitution safeguards the freedom of expression of every individual within ‘reasonable’ parameters. However, legal action can be taken against those violating the parameters.

The Aemend believes the freedom of expression cannot be curbed under any rationale. It said that even if there is a complaint against a channel for not employing a ‘delayed mechanism’ and working without an editorial committee, action cannot be taken against the entire electronic media. The Aemend is considering all legal options against the ban as well as consulting other journalist organisations.