The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah has fixed October 5 as the date for hearing a petition, seeking a ban on airing speeches of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and party President Shehbaz Sharif on television channels.
The plea was filed by a citizen, Amir Aziz, who has made Sharif, Shehbaz, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman and others, respondents.
The petitioner contended in his plea that the convicted former premier during his recent speeches, especially the one delivered via video link during the all parties conference on September 20, had maligned the state institutions and a “convict’s speech cannot be allowed to be broadcast on media”.
“His [Sharif’s] speech tarnished the image of national institutions.”
The petitioner stated that Sharif is a convicted criminal from the court and he cannot speak to the media, pleading the court to ban Sharif’s “hate speech”.
The petitioner pleaded the court to oblige PEMRA that Sharif's next speech should not be aired on any TV channel.
On Thursday, Pemra banned broadcast and rebroadcast of any speech, interview or public address of absconders or proclaimed offenders.
The regulatory body in a statement — a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune — prohibited the broadcasting of content including commentary, opinions or suggestions about the potential fate of sub-judice matter which tends to prejudice the determination by a court and a tribunal in compliance with the order passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
"If licensee fails to comply with the aforementioned directives, the authority shall take action under Sections 29 and 30 of the PEMRA Ordinance which may result in imposition of fine and suspension/revocation of licence," it added.
The decision came at a time when Sharif — who left for London late last year after securing bail for medical treatment in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and the Al Azizia reference — has been targeting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government as well as many state institutions, including the judiciary and the military.
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