War of words: Govt throws ball in PEMRA’s court | Pakistan Today

War of words: Govt throws ball in PEMRA’s court

  • Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar lashes out at propaganda against defence institutions
  • Says without evidence accusation against DG ISI was used by Pakistan’s enemies to target national institutions
  • Information Minister Pervez Rashid says PEMRA to take decision on complaints against Geo News
  • Analyst Rasool Bux Raees says govt should have taken action to stop propaganda

The government has seemingly thrown the ball in PEMRA’s court as the confrontation between a private news channel and the military establishment ballooned in wake of defamatory allegations against the country’s premier intelligence agency over the attack on TV journalist Hamid Mir.

Minister for Information Senator Pervaiz Rashid, who had earlier told journalists that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Hamid Mir reflected “with whom the government stands today”, later in the evening made a calculated retreat from his earlier stance saying that Pakistan Electronic Media Authority (PEMRA) is the regulatory body for electronic media and it would decide the matter after listening to both sides.

“Today the state of Pakistan and national institutions are standing with the scholars and intellectuals. They are standing with those who speak the language of arguments and not of weapons,” the information minister is reported to have said earlier.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, however, minced no words while condemning the news channel’s accusations against the defence institutions.

Expressing grave concerns over allegations against national defence institutions following an attack on senior journalist Hamid Mir in Karachi, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan condemned the way the ISI DG was accused without the presence of evidence. He said that the national institutions were being “attacked and accused” without any “registerable” evidence.

“The way our defence institutions are being criticised, there is no such example in the world,” he commented. The interior minister said whatever specific circles propagated against the country’s institutions, was further circulated by the enemies.

“Such criticism is regrettable, as our defence institutions are rendering sacrifices for the motherland,” he said. “When the government has constituted a three-member judicial commission, such accusations have no meaning and justification,” the minister commented.

LACK OF COORDINATION IN GOVERNMENT:

Talking to Pakistan Today, noted political analyst Dr Rasool Bux Raees said that the dissenting voices emerging from within the cabinet reflected that the battle lines were being drawn over the accusations levelled against the Pakistan Army and ISI.

“The dissenting voices reflect an immense lack of coordination among the cabinet ministers over the subject matter. The government must have come up with a coordinated response,” he added.

He said it was sad to note that the government had no strategy to deal with the situation. “Whatever the administration of Geo and Jang group did was inappropriate. Accusing state institutions is unacceptable. It is damaging for the state. It was sad to see a major group doing damage to security institutions,” he added.

He said that according to reports, the Defence Ministry has moved PEMRA to get Geo TV off-air for airing “baseless” propaganda against the defence institutions.

“In my view the government should have taken action to stop this negative propaganda. The government should own the state institution. But even if the Defence Ministry does not file a complaint, the army itself will do so. So I think battle lines have been drawn and political leaders are also now taking sides in this battle,” he added.



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