LAHORE: The Council of Complaints of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (Pemra) dismissed on Thursday the complaints of the minority Ahmadi community against two private TV channels as ‘non-maintainable’.

The decision was made after a mob entered the Pemra office in the Cantonment area, asking the authority to quash the complaints and raising slogans against the Ahmadi community.

Acting on complaints, Pemra had called the hosts of Neo TV’s talk show ‘Harf-i-Raz’ and Channel 92’s ‘Subh-i-Noor’ to explain their position over allegations of ‘provoking’ people to resort to violence against the minority community.

The representatives of the community were also present there when a good number of people, including clerics, entered the Pemra office, asking the authority to quash the complaints.

A Pemra official told Dawn that the authority had to call police to control the situation. “Police rescued representatives of the Ahmadi community who could not record their statements before the council,” he said.

Jamaat-i-Ahmadiyya spokesman Saleemuddin said the council had issued the verdict “under pressure” and without hearing the complainants instead of taking action against those involved in putting lives of the minority community members in danger.

The complainants in their applications to Pemra had alleged that the content aired in the two shows contained “provocative” remarks against a minority community whose members were already threatened, harassed and had suffered terrorist attacks in the past.

The content fostered disharmony among people and incited them to violence against minorities which was in violation of the National Action Plan and Pemra laws, they said.

Pemra said in a statement that in response to a public announcement made on Facebook by Orya Maqbool Jaan, the anchor of Neo TV, over 100 lawyers and other people, led by Mr Jaan, entered the conference room of the authority’s office and raised slogans.

However, it said, after considering the content of the complaints and hearing the respondents, the council unanimously recommended that the complaints were not maintainable.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2016