Islamabad, March 5 (PTI) Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog on Sunday banned satellite TV channels from broadcasting live and recorded speeches. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Khan was addressing his party workers outside his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. He also lashed out at government leaders, accusing them of hoarding their assets abroad and being given protection in legal cases by former Pakistan Army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Islamabad police arrived at Khan’s Lahore residence on Sunday and arrested him in the Doshakhana case, but returned after an assurance from his legal team that he would appear in court on March 7.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) referred to earlier directives in which all licensees were directed to “avoid airing any content against government institutions”. In his speech, the authority said, “Khan has been spreading hate speech by making baseless allegations against government institutions and officials through his provocative statements, which is detrimental to the maintenance of law and order and disturbs public peace and tranquility.” Broadcasting hateful, defamatory and unnecessary statements against government institutions is “in gross violation of Article 19 of the Constitution and the judgment of the Supreme Court,” it said.
It was observed that such content was aired by TV channels without effective use of time delay mechanism in violation of PEMRA laws and judgments of Supreme Courts, the regulator added.
PEMRA also warned that in case of violation, license of TV channels will be revoked.
This is not the first time that PEMRA has banned TV channels from telecasting Khan’s speeches.
In August last year, when the former cricketer-turned-politician addressed a public meeting here, he threatened to file a case against top police officials, a woman magistrate and the Election Commission of Pakistan over the treatment meted out to him by his aide Shebaz Gill. He was arrested on charges of sedition.
Khan, 70, bought gifts, including an expensive Graff watch he received as prime minister at a discount from a state depository called Toshakana, and sold them for a profit.
The Islamabad Sessions Court last week issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Khan and adjourned the hearing to March 7 due to his repeated non-appearance in court.
Television footage showed police officers in Islamabad police uniform and Punjab police being held up by Khan’s supporters outside his residence on Sunday.
While the Islamabad police were outside his house to serve the court’s order, Khan addressed a gathering of workers arrested in the ‘Jail Paro Tehreek’ (Court Arrest Movement) at his residence.
Khan was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote in April last year because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
Since his ouster, Khan has been calling for immediate elections to remove what he called an “imported government” led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif said that elections will be held at the end of this year after the five-year term of the parliament. PTI SH VM VM