ISLAMABAD: Expressing his disappointment over PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Faisalabad speech, in which he accused the coalition government of delaying elections to appoint the army chief of its choice, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that everything has been put at stake for a “game of thrones”.
Hearing a petition filed by the PTI against a ban imposed by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on the live telecast of the speeches of party chairman Imran Khan, IHC CJ Athar Minallah paid tribute to the sacrifices of the Armed Forces and stated, “Pakistan’s armed forces lay down their lives for us.”
During the course of the proceedings, the judge asked Imran Khan’s counsel if he heard his client’s yesterday’s speech.
“You want that you are allowed to speak whatever you want and the regulator should not regulate you,” remarked the CJ.
Justice Minallah told Imran Khan’s counsel to do self-accountability.
Irked by Imran Khan’s remarks about the army, the IHC chief justice said that you [Imran Khan] should not expect relief from the courts as it is the prerogative of the court.
He stated that every citizen is patriotic and no one has the authority to give a certificate of patriotism. The judge asked Imran Khan if he wanted to demoralise the Pakistan Army by making such a statement.
Moving on to Khan’s Faisalabad speech, the judge asked can anybody say that someone within the Pakistan army is not patriotic. He asked that could it be justified whatever was said yesterday.
“When you make a statement in public, it has more impact,” remarked the CJ.
Meanwhile, the IHC ordered the PEMRA to regulate in light of the Supreme Court Pakistan’s verdict and wrapped up Imran Khan’s application.
On August 30, the IHC suspended the PEMRA’s notification which prohibited television channels from airing PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s live speeches.
Justice Athar Minallah suspended the notification till September 5 and observed that the regulatory authority “does not have the authority” to issue such orders. Barrister Ali Zafar represented Imran Khan at the hearing, which was headed by the IHC CJ.
PTI lawyer argued that Imran Khan wanted to do a live telethon later today to raise funds for flood victims.
After hearing the arguments, the IHC chief justice suspended the notification and issued notices to the regulatory authority and Attorney-General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali.
The ban came into place on August 21 after the PTI chairman threatened state institutions and government officials with serious consequences.
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