Arguments complete: SHC reserves order in Bol TV case

Court to issue directions to interior ministry to decide security clearance matter within 30-45 days


Zubair Ashraf June 19, 2015
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has reserved its order on petitions of Labbaik TV against withdrawal of no objection certificate for Bol TV’s four directors. It was also reserved against the policy advice of information ministry to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to stop transmissions of Bol TV.

The development came on Thursday when all parties in the case completed their arguments before the SHC bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.

Additional attorney general, Salman Talibuddin, who represented the state, submitted that Bol News and Bol Entertainment were illegal entities established in violations of the rules of the Companies Ordinance.

He argued that Axact directors first took over Labbaik TV and later illegally used its license to run Bol network. Bol is owned by Axact, whose 99 percent shares are with a Dubai based company, he said.

Talibuddin questioned the making of the more than three billion rupees media enterprise of Bol in just two years. Labbaik TV had a capital of just Rs500,000 in 2013.

Since neither Labbaik nor Bol had any source of income, he alleged that the money was put in by Axact. He concluded his arguments by submitting that Pemra rules were neglected in the whole of Labbaik and Bol saga.

Pemra’s counsel, Kashif Hanif, told the court that the licence of a channel could not be given to any foreigner or a foreign based company. Discussing the NOC matter, he said no requirements were fulfilled while getting it, thus the authority drew it back.

Plaintiff’s counsel, Abid Zuberi, replied that there was no need of seeking security clearance under the Pemra rules for making changes in management. The authorities failed to bring on record anything that the money used in making of Bol was illegal, he added.

Zuberi sought time from the court to reply all the allegations levelled by the deputy attorney general, arguing that Bol could not be punished for Axact’s acts.

However, the court observed that it would issue directions to the interior ministry to decide the security clearance matter within 30 to 45 days.

Meanwhile, the district and sessions court hearing the Axact-gate scandal remanded four more company officials – Adnan, Munir, Mureed and Akhtar – to Federal Investigation Agency’s custody till June 23.

So far 14 suspects including company’s chief executive officer have been remanded in the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2015. 

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