KARACHI: Protest rallies were taken out against Geo TV after the channel showed controversial content in its morning show ‘Utho Jago Pakistan’, hosted by Shaista Lodhi.
Protests erupted in various cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, by activists of religious organisations who chanted slogans and flashed banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the TV channel.
According to media reports, protests in Faisalabad were held by workers of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). In Karachi, The Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) held a protest at Nagan Chowrangi and Imamia Student Organisation (ISO) at Numaish Chowrangi.
In Karachi, Jaffaria Alliance Pakistan protested against Geo TV in which large numbers of people were present. Protesters demanded that the transmission of the channel should be shut down as it had hurt the sentiments of Muslims, and a case should be filed against the channel administration.The MWM also staged a protest in Islamabad against Geo News. The protestors had raised placards and banners against the channel.
Numan Wahab adds from Lahore: Demonstrations were held in the various parts of the city under the patronage of the MWM, endorsing ‘Fatwas’ issued by SIC and condemning morning show of Geo.
A rally was also held from Imamia Mosque Sammanabad to Moon Market. The participants of the rally blocked the road and chanted slogans against Geo TV. They demanded to shutdown of the morning show along with stern punishment for the culprits. They demanded of the government to register cases against the responsible.
MWM General Secretary, Lahore, Allama Imtiaz Kazmi in his address said that any Muslim could not bear blasphemy of Ahle Bait. He said the MWM will continue its demonstration against Geo until or unless banning of programme and a stern action is taken by the government against the programme management.
On the other hand, different political and religious parties and student organisations staged protest demonstration outside Lahore Press Club against Geo.
Leaders and office-bearers of ISO, PTI and JUP (Niazi Group) were among those who staged the demonstration. Raising slogans against Jang/Geo and the host of the show, the protesters demanded that Geo should be banned immediately as it was going against the country’s interests and the religion as well.
Asim Hussain adds from Lahore: Meanwhile, Jamaatud Dawa (JD) Ameer Hafiz Muhammad Saeed demanded immediate ban on Geo TV and punishing all those involved in the production of the entertainment show that aired an alleged blasphemous content.
Addressing a large demonstration outside Jamia Qadisia after Friday prayers, he said those religious scholars who were advocating for a pardon of Geo TV after the administration and host of the show had apologised to the nation were not correct. He said according to Islamic Shariah no individual or government could pardon any accused of blasphemy of Holy Prophet (SAW), Sahaba Karam (RA) or Ahle Bait (RA), and advised those scholars not to push the nation into intellectual chaos.He demanded legislation to draw the limits for the media to refrain from blasphemy in future. The demonstration was also addressed by Qari Yakoob Sheikh, Sh Naeem Badshah and other leaders.
Meanwhile, Tehrik Hurmat Rasool (THR), a platform of over 20 religious parties, demanded immediate ban on Geo TV for committing the blasphemy of Ahle Bait (RA) in the morning show, and threatened to launch a countrywide movement if the channel was not banned and culprits were not punished.
Addressing a press conference after an emergency meeting of the heads of component parties on Friday, the THR leaders said if Youtube could have been banned for not removing blasphemous contents then Geo TV should also be banned for the same reason.
“Blasphemy of Able Bait (RA) is a millions of times serious crime than baseless accusations against the armed forces, and such outrageous audacities must not be allowed in the cover of freedom of expression,” said the THR convener Maulana Ameer Hamza, Jamiat Ahle Hadith leader Hafiz Ibtesam Elahi Zaheer, JAH leader Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar Rupari, Qari Yakoob Sheikh, Muttahida Jamiat Ahle Hadith leader Sheikh Naeem Badshah, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat leader Hafiz Ashraf Tahir, Tanzim Islami leader Dr Murtaza, Majlis Ahrar leader Maulana Muhammad Qasim and others.
Nadeem Shah adds from Multan: The Shiite religio-political parties staged demonstration at different locations here on Friday to show their anger on telecasting derogatory clips. The charged workers lamented Geo and Jang chanted slogans against the group.
The protesters chanted slogans intermittently against Geo during the procession while some of them having the banners prescribed with the slogans against Geo and Jang Group. The workers of Shiite Ulema Council, Majlis-e-Wahadat Pakistan and ISO staged demonstrations.
Our Khanewal correspondent adds: Tehsil bar association has announced complete strike and boycott of the courts on Saturday against Geo programme in which blasphemous content was broadcasted.Later, during Friday sermons, religious scholars also condemned the blasphemous broadcast by Geo TV and they also demanded ban on this TV channel.