ISLAMABAD    -   Expressing his concerns over the recent statement of Chairman PTI Imran Khan in Faisalabad rally re­garding the armed forces, the Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday asked that can ev­erything put on stake for a ‘Game of Thrones’?

A single bench of IHC compris­ing CJ of IHC Justice Athar Minallah made the remarks while hearing a petition of PTI challenging the Pa­kistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) orders to pro­hibit the live telecast of PTI chair­man’s speeches.

However, the bench disposed of the petition after PEMRA’s counsel informed the court that the Author­ity had put in place a mechanism to strictly implement the time delay policy and had also issued notices to the channels in this regard.

During the hearing, the IHC Chief Justice raised concerns over the for­mer prime minister’s statements passed at a rally in Faisalabad.

On Sunday while addressing a pub­lic rally in Faisalabad, Imran Khan lambasted the PPP and the PML-N the two major coalition partners in the incumbent government saying that both the parties were opposing earlier elections because they want­ed to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases.

Justice Athar while addressing Im­ran’s counsel said that you say that someone should be permitted to freely speak when they say that a person is a patriot and another per­son is not a patriot. He asked that can anyone say that a general of the armed forces is not a patriot? Then, he questioned from the PTI counsel that did you hear Imran Khan’s state­ments on Sunday? The IHC Chief Justice remarked that armed forc­es were rescuing the people while those statements were made. Can anyone justify those statements?

He asked that was the statement given at a rally constitutional and right? Justice Athar also asked from PEMRA’s lawyer that whether the authority had taken any measure in this regard. He said that people in authority at times gave irresponsi­ble statements.

The PEMRA’s counsel answered that the authority issued a show-cause to ensure the implementation of the time-delay mechanism in live broadcasts. He said that PEMRA’s or­ders were not aimed at a particular person.

Then the IHC CJ said to the PTI’s lawyer that let us not make things difficult as your client also made ir­responsible statements.

Referring to Imran’s statements at the Faisalabad rally, Justice Athar asked that how can you say in pub­lic whether an army chief is a patri­ot or not? He added that the armed forces personnel were getting mar­tyred and you [Imran] are bringing their morale down.

He made it clear that the recent statement did not even fall under Article 19 (freedom of speech) of the Constitution. He further said that how could you avoid a ban when such statements are given.

In response to a query, PEM­RA’s counsel said the authority had put in place a strong time-delay mechanism and also issued notic­es. The court observed that wheth­er the petitioner expected that the court would give him a license for is­suing irresponsible statements.

The IHC CJ asked that can the country put on stake for a ‘Game of Thrones’. He maintained that do not expect any kind of re­lief from the court in view of the things happening in the country.

Justice Athar asked the PTI coun­sel to undergo self-accountability. He stressed that every citizen was a patriot and no one had the right to issue a certificate of patriotism. Lat­er, the court directed PEMRA to reg­ulate Imran’s speeches in light of the rulings of the Supreme Court and disposed of the matter.

PEMRA ISSUES FRESH WARNING TO TV CHANNELS

The Pakistan Electronic Media Reg­ulatory Authority (PEMRA) Mon­day while issuing fresh directives warned all the satellite TV channels of strict legal action for airing any content against the state institutions.

The media watchdog, in a news release, also referred to its direc­tives issued earlier on November 15, 2021, and April 19, May 9 and 16, August 9, 29 and 31, and Septem­ber 2, 2022 to refrain all the licens­ees from “telecasting any content in any manner (either recorded or produced under its banner or aired during a live speech or press talk) against state institutions.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Electron­ic Media Regulatory Authority (PEM­RA) on Monday decided to immedi­ately take both the BOL News and BOL Entertainment TV channels off the air for not getting security clear­ance by their lincence holder M/s Labbaik from the Interior Ministry.