Monday October 02, 2023

LHC suspends Pemra's ban on broadcast of Imran Khan speeches

Court stops authorities from implementing Pemra's ban, forwards case to full bench for hearing on March 13

By Web Desk
March 09, 2023
A view of the Lahore High Court. — LHC website
A view of the Lahore High Court. — LHC website

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan got relief on Thursday as the Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended a restriction on the broadcast of his speeches and press conferences imposed by the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

On Sunday, Pemra slapped a speech-ban on the deposed prime minister after he heaped scorn at state institutions amid drama over his arrest from Zaman Park in the Toshakhana case. Subsequently, Khan filed a petition in the LHC for the annulment of the ban, accusing the regulatory authority of exceeding its constitutional powers by imposing the restriction.

Announcing a verdict reserved earlier in the day, the court directed the authorities to stop the implementation of Pemra's speech ban.

After giving the decision in Khan's favour, the LHC forwarded the case to a full-bench court, which will conduct a hearing on March 13.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza inquired about the grounds of the case.

Responding to the question, Khan's lawyer informed the court that an earlier ban imposed by PEMRA was also suspended by Islamabad High Court.

At this, the lawyer representing PEMRA opposed the argument and argued that the case was in IHC's jurisdiction and not in the LHC.

"A five-member bench has heard a case of similar nature on Monday," the lawyer maintained while requesting the court to forward the plea to larger bench.

At this, the LHC reserved its verdict on Khan's plea, to wait for an appropriate order.

LHC seeks security plan from Centre, Punjab govt for Imran Khan

Meanwhile, during a separate hearing of the PTI chief's plea for security and permission to appear via video link in the courts, the LHC directed the lawyers of federal and provincial government of Punjab to present a plan for Khan's security. 

The court remarked that the individuals related to the relief sought in the petition were not even a party in the case.

At this, Khan's lawyer Salman Safdar informed the court that some of the parties had been removed from the petition after the objections on the plea.

He said that the plea had been filed on Monday and fixed for the hearing yesterday after the removal of objections.

At this, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh remarked that the petition was very confusing.

The court asked the lawyer if they wanted foolproof security for Khan.

"Does a former prime minister get the security," it asked.

At this, the lawyer responded positively while Justice Sheikh directed him to make the corrections in the case.

"Bring the petition after correction and the court will take it up today," he added. 

When the hearing reconvened, Khan's lawyer informed the court that corrections had been made in the plea. "There is a law for the provision of security for a former premier," he maintained.

He told the court that Khan had been given security but it was withdrawn on January 19.

At this, the federal government's lawyer maintained that the provision of security was a subject of the provincial government.

Meanwhile, Justice Sheikh remarked that there was a security issue in this court, however, the petitioner needs to approach a relevant court for permission to appearance via video link.

The court then directed the provincial and federal government's lawyers to assist the court after taking directives on the provision of security by Monday.

At this, Khan's lawyer requested the court to provide security to Khan immediately.

However, the court told him to wait till the government lawyers bring the security plan, and issued notices to the Punjab inspector-general of police and home department.