The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman has been called by the Sindh High Court to explain the television blackout of Peoples Amn Committee leaders.
A division bench heard on Friday the petition filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, the chairman of the newly-formed political party Pakistan Qaumi Movement. The petitioner had challenged the ban imposed by PEMRA restraining the electronic media from giving coverage to Uzair Jan Baloch and Habib Jan Baloch among other leaders of the outlawed committee.
Kazmi submitted that his party is part of the “Karachi City Alliance” which includes many political groups of Karachi. The petition was filed as public interest litigation as the alliance believes that law and order in Karachi can only improve when every citizen is treated equally, he added.
“Uzair represents 1.7 million people of Lyari and other suburbs of Karachi and PEMRA’s restrictions are illegal and violate Articles 4, 19 and 25 of the constitution,” he stated.
“The situation in Lyari has worsened to such an extent that residents cannot come out of their town. In this atmosphere, the television channels remain the only source of highlighting the problems of citizens,” Kazmi submitted.
Asserting that the ban on the Peoples Amn Committee leaders was illegal, unconstitutional and against the freedom of expression, the plaintiff asked the court to declare it null and void.
The judges, after hearing the initial arguments by the petitioner’s counsel, ordered for notices to be issued to the PEMRA chairman to appear with an explanation on a date to be fixed later.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2012.