As Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan faces arrest in the Toshakhana case, the country’s media regulator has banned the broadcast of the PTI chief’s speeches on all the TV channels.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Photo: File)
By India Today World Desk: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Sunday imposed a ban on broadcasting speeches and press talks (live or Recorded) of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on all satellite TV channels. The order comes as the PTI chief is evading arrest from Islamabad police in connection with the Toshakhana case.
“It has been observed that Mr Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in his speeches/statements is continuously…levelling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity,” read an order issued by the media regulatory authority on Sunday.
Pakistan’s media regulatory body said the airing of hateful, slanderous and unwarranted statements against state institutions is “in sheer violation of Article 19 of the Constitution and a judgment of the Supreme Court”.
It has been observed that such content was telecasted by TV channels without effective utilisation of the time-delay mechanism in violation of provisions of PEMRA laws as well as judgments of the apex courts, the media regulator added.
Political party PTI slammed the move and said it would cause harm to revenues of media channels.
“They think that by banning Imran Khan’s speeches from TV they can obtain more votes, but they don’t know that it will cause harm to media channels revenues only,” Imran Khan’s party PTI said on Twitter.
The regulatory body also directed all satellite TV channels to ensure that impartial editorial boards be constituted, as required under Clause 17 of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisement) Code of Conduct 2015, to ensure their platforms are not used for airing contemptuous remarks or hateful or prejudicial statements against state institutions or in the interest of public law and order.
The authorities warned the TV channels that their license would be suspended in case of non-compliance.
Earlier in the day, police officials arrived at Imran Khan’s Lahore residence, which was surrounded by hundreds of protesters and supporters due to which police were unable to arrest him.
“A team of Islamabad police has arrived in Lahore to arrest Imran Khan to comply with the court orders,” Islamabad police said in a tweet.
“Imran Khan is reluctant to surrender — the Superintendent of Police had gone into the room but Imran Khan was not present there.”
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Pakistani police today served arrest warrants to Imran Khan to ensure his appearance in court on charges of misusing his office to sell state gifts, authorities told news agency Reuters.
The arrest warrant was issued after Imran Khan failed to appear in court in a corruption case on Feb 28. Officials returned after assurance from his legal team that he will appear before the court on March 7.
The election commission of Pakistan had in October found the 70-year-old cricket-hero-turned politician guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries.
Referring to his absence from court and the shooting incident, Khan said on Sunday: “They (the police) know there is a threat against my life,” adding that the courts did not provide adequate security.
The former cricketer-turned-politician has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier, at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
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(With agency inputs)