SC bans airing of Indian content on TV channels

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Gives 15 days to clear Karachi of encroachments

Staff Reporter

Karachi

The Supreme Court on Saturday imposed a ban on airing of Indian content on Pakistani television channels. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar conducted the hearing which took place at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry.
During the hearing, the top judge also suspended an earlier high court decision in this regard. The Lahore High Court in 2017, noting that “the world has become a global village”, lifted a ban on the airing of Indian drama serials imposed by the broadcast media watchdog in 2016.
The petitioner had stated that Pemra had granted a licence to the company for 15 years to operate a cable channel. Under the licence conditions, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent foreign content, including that of India.
“They are trying to [obstruct the construction] of our dam and we cannot even ban their channels?” the top judge fumed as he ordered the broadcast of Indian shows to be “shut down” before adding that the authorities should “only air appropriate content”.
In 2016, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on local television and FM radio channels.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar granted 15 more days to city authorities to clear encroachments all over Karachi.
The CJP, who heard cases in the Supreme Court Karachi registry today, told Additional Inspector General Amir Sheikh — the city’s police chief — that since a court order to clear encroachments was already present, the authorities did not need anyone’s permission to launch a citywide operation.
Karachi Mayor Waseem, while briefing the top judge on the anti-encroachment drive, claimed that the authorities had cleared “up to 70 per cent of the Empress Market”.
The chief justice, however, was not satisfied and said that the authorities must clear surrounding areas as well.
The CJP told the mayor to provide welfare organisations alternative locations where they could feed the poor. At this, Akhtar replied that he does not have the magisterial powers to do so.

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