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Pakistan court suspends ban on broadcasting Imran Khan speeches

Media regulatory body had imposed a ban on live telecasts of the former prime ministers speeches.

Published On 29 Aug 2022

Islamabad, Pakistan The High Court of Pakistan suspended a ban on live broadcasts of former Prime Minister Imran Khans speeches, ruling the states media regulatory body had exceeded its authority.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to nominate an authorised officer to seem prior to the court and justify the issuance of the prohibition order.

Pakistans media regulatory body imposed the ban following the former prime minister criticised police, judicial officials, along with other state institutions in a speech in the administrative centre, Islamabad, on August 20.

PEMRA in a statement on August 21 accused Khan of levelling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech against state institutions and officers and prohibited live telecasts of his public addresses.

In its six-page notification, PEMRA said Khans speech was in violation of Article 19 of the constitution, ordering that just a recorded speech was permitted to be broadcast having an effective delay mechanism to make sure editorial control.

The speech led to a terrorism case filed against Khan, and he was later granted bail. He also faces a contempt of court charge for remarks he made against a judge in exactly the same speech.

Khan leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is likely to appear prior to the court on Wednesday.

Commenting on the ruling, PTI lawyer Faisal Fareed Chaudhry told Al Jazeera that freedom of speech is really a fundamental right of each Pakistani.

He added it had been important to permit the broadcast of Khans speeches as he plans to carry a global telethon on Monday night to improve funds for flood victims of Pakistan.

Addressing a big crowd in Islamabad on Saturday night, Khan threatened to file court cases against senior police officials after his close aide, Shahbaz Gill, was arrested on August 9.

Khan designated a lady judge who had earlier in the week approved a two-day detention of Gill, who faces sedition charges after he was accused of inciting a mutiny in the countrys powerful military.

Khan accused police of torturing Gill in custody and said the charges against his him were a conspiracy to pit his party contrary to the military.Pakistani police denied the allegations.

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