ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday issued notices to information ministry, chairman Pakistan electronic media regulatory authority (PEMRA) and other respondents in a petition seeking legal action against TV anchors, including Dr Shaista Lodhi, Mubashir Luqman and Nida Yasir, and some others under the offence of blasphemy and their removal from their services.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi conducted the hearing of the petition and directed the respondents to submit their reply in this regard.
Shohada Foundation of Pakistan moved the petition through its trustee Ihtasham Ahmad. The petitioner moved the court through his lawyer Tariq Asad Advocate and cited federation through secretary ministry of information, chairman PEMRA, Dr Shaista Lodhi, anchor Geo TV, Mubashir Luqman, anchor ARY TV, Nida Yasir, host of Good Morning Pakistan programme of ARY Digital, Amjad Ghulam Fareed Sabri, ARY Digital, Aqeel Mohsan Naqvi, Sadat-e-Sankhatra, DG Khan, cable operators association through its representative Khalid Arain, chairman council of Islamic ideology, and Pakistan telecommunication authority (PTA) as respondents.
During the hearing, he argued that the singer Amjad Fareed Sabri and the poet Aqeel Mohsin are the real culprits. Therefore, he requested the court to ban this particular Manqabat.
He contended that this petition is deeply motivated by the fact that the Muslims are obliged to mention the name of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) and his companions with great respect and reverence. "But the TV channels and PEMRA are degenerating the Islamic values and culture and neglecting to call their names in accordance with the inunctions of Quran and Sunnah and are, thus, hurting the sentiments of the Muslim Ummah. They have engaged females as anchors wearing brief shameful dress who are ignorant of Islamic values and knowledge of Islam; they are degenerating the moral values of the Muslims submitting them to the cultural onslaught of the West," he added.
He adopted in the petition that the respondent Dr Shaista Lodhi crossed all the limits and shocked the whole nation. "The feelings of Muslim Ummah have been intensely injured by her programme. She celebrated the marriage of Veena Malik who had recently married a billionaire, namely Asad. Veena is well known for her vulgarity, nudity and sex scandals while she remained in India. During celebrations, a Manqabat was sung, the poetry of which was not only itself controversial and objectionable, but the way it was demonstrated has genuinely shocked the whole nation," maintained the petitioner.
The counsel stated that the identical and entirely similar show had been telecast four times on ARY Digital channel in "Good Morning Pakistan" programme, which was hosted by Nida Yasir and the Manqabat was sung by Amjad Ghulam Farid Sabri.
He added that in the recent event the said programme was given so much publicity due to a campaign by the other cannels particularly by Mubashir Luqman who is conducting programme namely "Khara Such."
In the opinion of the petitioner, the poet is the most liable for the commission of the offence of blasphemy and he should be dealt with in accordance with law under Section 295-A of PPC along with all others, as he is the mastermind to spread blasphemy among others. He is respondent No. 8 in the instant petition and he is the real root cause of the whole said incident. Therefore, he prayed to the court that the respondent No. 3 to 8 be dealt with in accordance with law under the offence of blasphemy and removed from their services.
He added that if action is taken against the Geo on the said round, the same action be taken against ARY channel in view of article 25 of the constitution; otherwise it would be discrimination.
The petitioner requested the court that it may direct respondent No. 11 immediately to remove the abovementioned programmes and such other programmes from website being in violation of articles 2-A, 14, 19 and 20 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 directing them further to improve the standard and culture of TV media generally in consonance with the ideology of Pakistan and article 19 of the constitution. He further prayed that the impugned poem be banned and action be taken against respondents No. 6 and 8 in accordance with law.