Electronic Media Under Siege in Pakistan??

Posted on June 2, 2007
Filed Under >Darwaish, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
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By Darwaish

As expected, the Military Government of Pakistan has finally lost its patience and the live coverage of CJ’s bar addresses and live talk shows have been banned from today.

This means there is every chance that we won’t be able to see Live with Talat Hussain or Hamid Mir’s Capital Talk and possibly Dr. Shahid Masood’s Mere Mutabiq for sometime at least. Some of the less dangerous programmes like Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath may survive in my view. Meanwhile, in related news, Karachi journalists are now recieving threatening letters with bullets in them.

Our beloved Information Minister Mr. Ghalat Biyani held a press conference today and warned media. He said that government is talking to TV channels and either they trying to convince them to impose a self-censorship which is basically say nothing against Pakistan Army and national security institutions and No Live Coverage of CJ. We will find out exactly what happens in next few days and how far owners of electronic media channels can resist. Those of you following CJ’s Abotabad District Bar visit today must have noticed a sudden change in electronic media coverage, a partial blackout. We are only seeing repetition of recorded clips on all the channels. PEMRA has issued strict orders to all channels NOT to broadcast CJ’s speech today. ARY ‘s transmission has already been banned in Islamabad and Rawalpindi since yesterday mainly because of anti army slogans during Ayaz Amir’s show in Islamabad last week. Talat Hussain also hinted last night that there is a possibility that viewers won’t see him on Aaj TV in coming weeks.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has vowed to challenge this move in highest courts and a petition will be filed on Monday. This step was expected after yesterday’s Corps Commanders Conference which apparently taken strict notice of an organized campaign against National Security Institutions by a minority. Lahore High Court Bar has slammed this move by government. According to Daily Times:

The LHCBA on Friday denounced the government for taking steps to ban the live coverage of the lawyers’ movement. LHCBA representatives said in a joint statement that Information and Broadcasting minister Muhammad Ali Durrani’s statement about changing the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority rules were against the independence of the media. LHCBA president Ahsen Bhoon said a free media was essential for the development of a country. He said, “The military government wants to use the media for its ulterior motives.� He said the lawyers’ movement would continue till the end of the military government. LHCBA secretary Sarfaraz Cheema condemned the Sindh chief minister for allegedly accusing the lawyers for taking foreign grants for the movement against the government.

This whole thing has been triggered after heated speeches and slogans against Pakistan Army during last week’s seminar in Supreme Court Auditorium. Personally, I think some of the speeches and slogans were not at all appropriate and should have been avoided. One can argue about the role of military in politics since 1954 and the corruption that exists at the highest levels. But we should not blame the entire institution that includes ordinary army jawans and junior officers who have nothing to do with politics and who perform their duties in extremely tough conditions so that we can feel secure from internal and external threats.

Its the junior officers and soldiers who die for us in the battle fields and they deserve highest regard. Having said that, it should be clear to our respected generals that since top military leadership is ruling this country (there is hardly a civilian institution that is not headed by a Brigadier Saab these days) and involved in all kinds of politics (who can deny the ugly role of ISI in politics?) therefore they should also learn to take criticism like politicians do.

The days of Muqadas Gaye treatment are over. A conclusion should be made whether Pakistan is supposed to be a social welfare state for people of Pakistan or a National Security State for an institution. And what is this National Security anyways? Have we ever defined it? Once a question was put by a PPP MNA in national assembly asking if army officers declare their assets annually and file their returns like average Pakistani and they got official answer that this question cannot be answered since it is a National Security issue.

While all this is happening, its ironic that parliament and elected members are nowhere to be seen in any major decision making. Chaudhary Shujaat came up with an immature remark that all the lawyers who are talking against military should be shot (goli maar deni chahiye).

Is he not provoking violence?

I hope that common sense prevails before things get out of hands and Pakistan Army gets out of politics and they get back to their real duties. The last thing any sensible person wants is an increase in hatred against the military in ordinary people and possibly a violent clash.

One shouldn’t forget the example of what happened in Argentina and that will be disastrous and a great tragedy for people of Pakistan.

38 responses to “Electronic Media Under Siege in Pakistan??”

  1. mozang bijjli says:

    Thanks Aqil!
    i was too schocked and disappointed at this report that I wrote to PTI via there web site and giving a piece of my mind, i never expected a reply from them but they were so good as to send a reply with in hours and in their answer a Mr ali zaidi of PTI has vehemently denied the report quoting it as a misinformation on the behest of agencies.
    I for my self was very angry even mad at Imran khan because I have started to look at him as a harbinger of change we so much covet.
    I am not a karachite and have nothing personal against altaf hussain but his maniac killlings on May 12 has forced me to pray for his equally torterous death by God if no man in pakistan has courage to speak against him. I know Altaf hussains ibrat-naak-maut is not going to bring the innocents killed in his satanic endeavours. i shiver when i think the one dead on may 12 might be an only son, a newly wed husband, a father of little children. Altaf hussain may escape courts and trial but he can not escape judgement of God which is ultimate.
    Good thing is Imarn khan is fighting for us. and is not harassed by MQM.

  2. Aqil Sajjad says:

    Hold on guys. It’s a bit premature to decide that Imran Khan has patched up with MQM and is not going to file the law suit by reading just a report in which the correspondent has not even been named. This could even have been planted at the behest of MQM possibly with the connivance of some turncoat in PTI.

    Here is a denial by someone in the May 12 group (this is the group of Pakistanis in England who have decided to work with Imran Khan on the May 12 issue).

    “Imran Khan was scheduled to leave for Spain with his children from long before. He will be back in London tomorrow.

    “Imran Khan met with his solicitor (who is also named Imran Khan) on Monday the 4th of June. May 12th members were also present. The case is proceeding ahead as planned. I just called up the London offices of the PTI. They are denying that this report is accurate and have promised to investigate the source of this news.”

  3. mazhar butt says:

    most probably Imran will not file a suit against Altaf Hussain,,,,,,,,,,, after all, politicians are chip of the same block !

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