Pakistan media watchdog bans live telecast of ex-PM Imran's speeches - GulfToday

Pakistan media watchdog bans live telecast of ex-PM Imran's speeches


Imran Khan waves to supporters during an anti-government protest rally in Islamabad on Saturday night. AFP

Tariq Butt, Correspondent/ AFP

The Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has banned live telecast of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s public speeches with immediate effect after he delivered another hard-hitting address to a protest rally on Saturday night.

The restriction came after he threatened state institutions and government officials with serious consequences. Imran Khan's addresses are in open violation of the Pemra rules, according to the Pakistan’s media watchdog notification issued in Sunday's wee hours. It said that Imran's speeches are a violation of Article 19 of the Constitution.

Only pre-recorded speeches can be broadcast now with effective monitoring and editorial control, the Pemra notification said.

The regulator issued a six-page notification, stating it has been observed that Imran is persistently levelling baseless accusations in his speeches and statements against national institutions and spreading hatred in his speeches.

A PTI senior official, Asad Umar, lambasted the media regulatory body's move to ban Imran's speeches. "Banning Imran Khan's speeches telecast is another attempt to find an administrative solution to a political problem," Umar said. He added that his party will challenge the ban in court.

PTIjalsa-Imran Supporters of Imran Khan wave flags during an anti-government protest rally in Islamabad. AFP

The ex-premier is set to hold another rally tonight in the city of Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad.

According to the Pemra, the ban has been put in place under Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002. The notification mentioned Imran's speech at the F9 Park, Islamabad.

It states that the PTI chief's statements are detrimental to the maintenance of law and order as he is constantly inciting citizens against institutions and officers in his speeches.

The notification said Imran’s hate speech is against the Supreme Court's verdict in the suo motu case. The contents of Imran's speech are also against the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict, says the Pemra, which also warned news channels of strict action if the directives were not followed. The notification carries the excerpts of Imran Khan's speech on Aug.20 in Urdu.

In the meantime, officials said the government has lodged an FIR against Imran under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for threatening a judge and two top police officials during an above-mentioned public gathering.

Imran threatened Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, saying, "Zeba! Be ready, we will take action against you.” He also hurled threats to the IGP and DIG Islamabad, by calling out to them, "IGP [inspector general of police] and DIG [deputy inspector general of police of Islamabad]! We will not spare you.”

On Saturday, Imran warned that he would "not leave” Islamabad's inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, saying he would file cases against them for torturing his aide Shahbaz Gill.

"We will not spare the IGP and DIG,” he said while addressing a public gathering at the F-9 park in Islamabad. The former prime minister called out Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who last week had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she too should prepare herself as the case will also be registered against her.

The PTI chief led a rally in Islamabad from Zero Point to F-9 Park in support of incarcerated leader Shahbaz Gill, who the party said was subjected to alleged "gruesome torture” in police custody.

He said that if a case can be registered against Gill, then, Fazlur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif, and Rana Sanaullah will also face judicial proceedings.

"They [coalition government] are trying to scare us by torturing Gill,” he said, adding that this is a "decisive moment” for the people of the country.

Reiterating his stance not to bow down before the idol of fear, he said: "If we bow down then we will have to face slavery although in the garb of Gill’s arrest they are trying to enslave the people.”

Imran maintained that what happened to Gill wasn’t because of what he said since the PDM leaders in the government had "said much more than that."

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