Thursday December 02, 2021

Axact’s channel being run through foreign funding, SHC told

March 27, 2018

KARACHI: The additional attorney general on Monday argued before the Sindh High Court (SHC) that Axact’s TV channel is being run on foreign funding and any person funded or sponsored by a foreign government or organisation could not be granted broadcasting licence.

Initiating arguments on the application of M/s Labaik against the cancellation of its TV licence by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) due to lack of security clearance, Additional Attorney General Salman Talibuddin submitted that money laundering case has been registered against the master mind of Axact Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Sheikh which is pending before the trial court. Besides, the fake degree case in which Axact employees sold fake degree online is also pending before the trial court.

He submitted that a judicial officer has been removed from service on charges of receiving bribe to acquit the Axact CEO and others in the fake degree case and a re-trial was ordered by the Supreme Court. The law officer sought time to submit details of Axact's TV licence on the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the applicant counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan concluded his arguments. The counsel of the applicant submitted that Pemra with malafide intent revoked the TV channel licence on the recommendations of the Council of Complaints which has no authority to do so. He submitted that a security clearance was issued to the Axact's TV channel directors in 2013 and now Pemra raised objections that one security agency did not issue clearance certificate.

The court observed that the security clearance is a sensitive issue and expressed concern as how the transmission of the TV is being telecast without any security clearance. The applicant’s counsel submitted that many TV channels including Madni TV, Q TV are telecasting their transmissions without any security clearance but the applicant's channel is being victimised and the Council of Complaint has issued its decision without hearing the applicant.

He alleged that Pemra is being used by the government against the TV channel for political purposes although the declared shares of the shareholders are submitted before the competent authority.

The SHC’s single bench headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui after partial hearing of the arguments of the AAG adjourned the case till April 13. Labaik has challenged the Pemra order of cancellation of the Axact's TV channel licence due to lack of security clearance by the Interior Ministry.