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May 15, 2019

Ex-servicemen’s TV appearance: IHC moved against Pemra order

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May 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) notification, binding the retired servicemen to obtain permission from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) for appearing in any private television channels talk shows as a defence analyst, has been challenged in the Islamabad High Court. Col Inamur Rahim (retd) stated in his petition that Pemra’s notification, issued on April 4, 2019, was in violation of the spirit of Article 19 of the Constitution, which conferred on all citizens the right of freedom of speech by providing that every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

The petitioner said the 26 retired military officials allowed to speak in TV shows as defence analysts are: Lt Gen Moinuddin Haider (retd), Lt Gen Amjad Shoaib (retd), Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool (retd), Lt Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi (retd), Lt Gen Asif Yaseen Malik (retd), Lt Gen Raza Ahmed (retd), Lt Gen Ashraf Saleem (retd), Maj Gen Ejaz Awan (retd), Maj Gen Ghulam Mustafa (retd), Brig Saad Rasool (retd), Brig Farooq Hameed (retd), Brig Ghazanfar Ali (retd), Brig Aslam Ghumman (retd), Brig Nadir Mir (retd), Brig Asadullah (retd), Brig Asif Haroon (retd), Brig Harris Nawaz (retd), Brig Said Nazir (retd), Brig Simson Simon Sharof (retd), Admiral Ahmed Tasnim (retd), Air Marshal Shahid Latif (retd), Air Marshal Ikram Bhatti (retd), Air Marshal Masood Akhtar (retd), Air Marshal Riazuddin Sheikh (retd), Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Ch (retd) and Air Commodore Sajjad Haider (retd).

But, according to the petitioner, names of various other retired army officers including him, had not been added to the list. Those not included are: Brigadier Mahmood Shah (retd), Lt Gen Muhammad Asad Durrani (retd), Lt Gen Talat Masood (retd), Maj Amir (retd), and two former director generals of the ISPR – Maj Gen Athar Abbas (retd) and Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi (retd).

Col (retd) Inamur Rahim said in his petition that earlier he had submitted an application to Pemra, requesting it to ban airing of all statements, interviews and speeches of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, as both were absconders according to the law of the land. However, Pemra had rejected his complaint saying that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech under Article 19.

The petitioner stated that if Pemra could not impose a ban on absconding Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, how come it could ban retired army officers.

He requested the court to declare Pemra notification of April 4 null and void, as retired servicemen are also citizens of Pakistan and they also enjoy the right to freedom of speech and the right to appear in TV talk shows as defence analysts.

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