NA proceedings: Spotlight shifts from Abbas Town to the media

Debate on Karachi blast not resumed, lawmakers say media should not telecast shows against Parliamentarians.

Qamar Zaman March 07, 2013
Debate on Karachi blast not resumed, lawmakers say media should not telecast shows against Parliamentarians.


Just three days after the Karachi terrorist attacks, lawmakers in the National Assembly had little to say about the incident, and instead spent their taxpayers’ time lashing out at the media.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik was meant to provide a ‘fact sheet’ on the law and order situation in the country, with particular reference to the Abbas Town tragedy, but the presentation was postponed till the completion of the ongoing debate. The debate never took place.

The National Assembly had started talking about the tragedy on Tuesday (March 5) and Malik had announced they would wind up the debate and answer queries in the next session. But no one seemed to have anything to say on the subject Wednesday.

Furthermore, Interior Minister Malik requested lawmakers to present their questions on the incident in writing so he could answer them properly.

Later, the proceedings of the house revolved around the media. Members from all political parties endorsed each other’s views on what they said was the irresponsible behavior of some TV show hosts.

The house passed a resolution moved by Minister for Technical Education & Vocational Training Sheikh Waqas Akram from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which condemned anchors who were “telecasting programs against Parliamentarians and other entities without verification of facts and for some personal agenda or for some ulterior motives or unlawful gain.”

“Such anchorpersons have been exposed for their non-professional conduct and the house strongly condemns [them] and demands the owners of media houses expel them,” the resolution said.+

Akram told the house of a TV show in which he said the host, Mubasher Lucman, had used derogatory language against him and Parliament. Akram used some questionable language for the talk-show host but these words were not struck from the record.

His views were endorsed by members of all political parties who said some anchors presented MPs as criminals to the nation.

Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza said the media should behave decently while reporting on parliamentarians. “The whole world watches these channels and there should be some responsibility and owners should take notice of such things,” she said.

Interior Minister Malik also lashed out at the media and suggested legislation to prevent it from what he called bashing parliamentarians.

YouTube ban to be lifted?

Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar hinted that the ban on YouTube would soon be lifted. “The government is seriously considering reopening YouTube and hopefully it would be [up] the day before we go,” he added.

The issue was raised by Shazia Marri from the PPP who condemned the sacrilegious film which had led to the ban but added that the restriction had deprived people of research and information.

Meanwhile, the house passed a bill to amend the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Act, 1997 as The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2013.


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