ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday lifted the ban on anchorperson Dr Amir Liaquat by allowing him to appear on television shows. However, it sustained the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) decision to suspend his Ramzan show on Bol TV.
Earlier on Friday, the electronic media watchdog had slapped a 30-day ban and issued a notification to the television host for hurting ‘sentiments of different sects’ and creating sensation ‘through unwarranted drama on the basis of religion’.
After inciting sectarian animosity, Dr Liaquat had “quit the show, leaving the live platform for the guest ulemas who exchanged quite harsh arguments”, the notification had observed.
PEMRA had found that the show’s content violated Section 20(b), (c) (f) of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002 among others, noting that Dr Liaquat “is misusing/abusing the platform without adhering to the provisions of PEMRA rules”.
The watchdog warned stern action, including suspension or revocation of license, in case of non-compliance.
Hussain, however, challenged PEMRA’s directive in the high court.
Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, who heard his plea, ruled that PEMRA could not impose a blanket ban on an anchorperson since the regulatory body only has the power to take specific broadcasts off air.
The court ruled that, therefore, banning an anchorperson did not fall under PEMRA’s authority.
Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till June 8.
This is not the first time Liaquat has been banned from appearing on TV. In January 2017, PEMRA banned him and his programme ‘Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga’ on Bol News after he levelled allegations of blasphemy against ‘disappeared’ civil society activists and bloggers on his programme. Islamabad High Court had also temporarily barred the TV host from making any television appearances.