The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Thursday banned Amir Liaquat's programme 'Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga' on Bol News with immediate effect.
Liaquat recently came under fire on social media after he levelled allegations of blasphemy against 'disappeared' civil society activists and bloggers on his programme on Bol News.
Following the incident, lawyer Jibran Nasir filed a complaint with Pemra accusing Liaquat of allegedly running a defamatory and life-threatening campaign against him.
The lawyer, in his complaint, maintained that Liaquat had hurled baseless allegations against him and even termed him an ‘atheist’ besides accusing him of furthering an ‘anti-Pakistan’ and ‘anti-Islam’ agenda.
Liaquat did not stop there ─ he went on to assert allegations of blasphemy against Jibran along with accusing him of being the admin of the ‘Bhensa’ page on social media, the complaint read, a copy of which was also sent to Pemra Chairman Absar Alam.
Pemra said it had received hundreds of complaints with regard to Liaquat's "hate speech".
Following the complaints, the regulatory authority banned Amir Liaquat from hosting any programme or appearing on Bol News in any manner, including as a guest, analyst, reporter, actor, or in audio, video beepers, promos or advertisement of his programme. If Bol News fails to comply the authority will suspend the channel's licence, the statement said.
Additionally, Pemra said, "Amir Liaquat is prohibited to deliver, on all other channels, any hate speech, declaring anyone as kaafir or ghaddar, as under the Constitution of Pakistan, it is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Parliament or the Honourable Superior Judiciary."
The Pemra statement made it clear that if Liaquat "continues to abuse freedom of speech and violates the Pemra Code of Conduct 2015, Pemra Ordinance 2002, and Rules and Regulations on any other TV channel(s), the authority shall invoke Section 27 of Pemra Ordinance 2002 against that TV channel."
The regulatory authority stated that it took the decision after it found that Liaquat has violated several clauses of the Pemra Ordinance and Rules in his programme, which the authority had been monitoring for several weeks.
Complaints received by Pemra will be forwarded to the Councils of Complaints in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for further action.
The prohibition order on Amir Liaquat will remain in effect until the Council of Complaints submits its recommendations on the complaints received by Pemra and the subsequent decision of the authority on the Council's recommendations.
Last week, the interior ministry issued a statement asserting there was no truth to reports in the media that any case had been filed against the online activists that accused them of blasphemy, describing such claims as “ridiculous”.
Read more: Editorial: Nisar's statement
The statement also decried the “negative propaganda” particularly on social media against the missing men, and alluded to the perils inherent in the allegations against them.
“Perhaps [these elements] do not realise that this act of theirs is further increasing difficulties for the affected families,” it added.
In 2016, Pemra barred Liaquat from hosting a Ramazan show 'Inam Ghar' on Geo Entertainment for three days following his June 6 episode in which he reenacted the suicide of a girl.