Court seeks PEMRA’s reply on contempt plea

PTI chief says TV channels are refraining from airing his speeches

Our Correspondent May 19, 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan speaking to his supporters in a video on May 3, 2023. SCREENGRAB


Lahore High Court’s Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza on Thursday sought reply from PEMRA by June 13 on a plea filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan seeking contempt proceedings against the regulatory body for not broadcasting his speeches despite suspension of its earlier notification.

The petitioner had earlier challenged PEMRA’s prohibition in the LHC, upon which Justice Mirza suspended PEMRA’s prohibition order on March 9.

On April 1, Imran Khan had filed a contempt plea in the high court through Barrister Muhammad Ahmad Pansota. He argued that despite the LHC's clear order in the presence of the counsel for the respondents, including Saleem Baig (Chairman of PEMRA) and Muhammad Tahir (Director Operations, Broadcast Media PEMRA), the order had not been complied with to date.

The petitioner argued that the TV channels are refraining from airing the petitioner's speeches due to threats from the respondents, which he brought to the attention of the court.

The petitioner submitted that the respondents' actions are contemptuous, illegal, and against the law and the Constitution. Barrister Pansota contended in the petition that the respondents' actions contradict Article 10-A of the Constitution of Pakistan. He argued that these actions are unlawful, without jurisdiction, violate the petitioner's fundamental rights, and have no legal effect. As a result, the respondents should refrain from acting in a manner that is prejudicial to the petitioner's interests and contrary to the law and the Constitution, he added.

Moreover, the petitioner highlighted that the right to equality before the law, as guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan, cannot be taken away or tampered with.

The petitioner has been treated unfairly and unjustly, he argued.

The petitioner further pleaded that the respondents have willfully disregarded the LHC's judgment, which has diminished the prestige and honour of the court. Their violation of the order has ridiculed the authority of the court, resulting in a loss of esteem for the court.  

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2023.


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