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Ban on broadcasting of Imran’s speeches: LHC issues notices to Pemra chairman, others in contempt of court plea

By Our Correspondent/online
April 04, 2023

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued notices to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Salim Baig and director operations in a contempt of court plea regarding the ban on broadcasting of speeches of the PTI Chairman Imran Khan despite a stay order.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan had moved the LHC, seeking contempt proceedings against the Pemra for not complying with the court orders which had suspending a ban on broadcasting his interviews and speeches.

On March 9, the LHC Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza had suspended Pemra's prohibition order against on airing speeches of the PTI chairman. Imran moved the court alleging that the Pemra has not complied with the court orders further alleging that Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig and Director Operations Muhammad Tahir, along with other Pemra officials – have threatened TV channels with dire consequences if they on air his speeches.

The petitioner argued that the respondents have intentionally flouted the judgment and committed contempt of the court. The petitioner said that actions of the respondents are contemptuous, illegal, "ultra vires" the law and the Constitution.

The petition implored the court to take action against the respondents. Barrister Ahmad Pansuta, counsel for Imran Khan, told the court LHC has issued stay order against Pemra ban on broadcasting Imran Khan’s speeches and has suspended Pemra notice regarding ban on PTI chairman speeches.

Ban on broadcasting Imran Khan’s speeches by TV channels despite court orders is contempt of court. Constitution gives freedom of expression to citizens in the country. Ban on broadcasting speeches of Imran Khan is blatant violation of the Constitution.

The citizens have never accepted restrictions on freedom of expression in Pakistan. Ban on freedom of expression will lead to create chaos in the country and political unrest. He further contended the country cannot afford chaos due to ban on broadcasting speeches in the prevailing political situation. The court after hearing the arguments has issued notice to the respondents and sought reply.