The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday issued a show cause notice to Bol News for flouting a ban on television personality Aamir Liaquat for 'hate speech' on his programme 'Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga' on the channel.
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.
Over the past several days, Liaquat had been at odds with other TV anchors and social media activists, going as far as declaring a large chunk of mediapersons and civil society activists as "non-Muslims", "infidels", "enemies of Islam" and "Indian agents".
The regulatory authority banned 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.
However, Liaquat, on his show Thursday night, defiantly flouted the ban and went ahead with his show, hurling abuse at Pemra and criticising its decision to take his show off the air.
As a result, Bol News was taken off-air in certain areas of the country, while the show was broadcast uninterrupted in other localities.
According to the statement issued by Pemra today, Liaquat not only hosted the said programme but also appeared in a promo on the channel the same day the orders were issued and conveyed to Bol News management.
It said that "Bol News in blatant and deliberate violation of aforementioned prohibition orders not only televised the programme 'Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga' but also allowed the host (Liaquat) to appear on Bol News at 22:45 on Jan 26, 2017."
Later, the programme was televised once again by the channel, further violating the Pemra orders.
Pemra termed airing of the TV show as "willful defiance of the orders of the authority, which is a cognisable offence under Sections 29, 30, 33 and 34 of Pemra Ordinance 2002 as amended by the Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007."
The regulatory authority has directed Bol News to submit an explanation within seven days, as to "why an appropriate action may not be initiated against the licencee for the above referred violation".
"In case, the channel management fails to submit a reply within a period of seven days, the matter shall be proceeded ex-parte in accordance with the Pemra laws," the notice further said.
Rights activist files complaint
Separately, Rawalpindi police on Thursday registered a case against Liaquat under the Anti Terrorism Act (ATA) for indulging in hate speech and threatening the life of activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir.
Nasir had 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.