Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Friday banned TV host and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf member Dr Amir Liaquat from appearing on any TV channel in Pakistan for thirty days after ruling that he had violated several sections of Pemra Ordinance in a TV programme a day ago.
The media regulator, in a notification issued on May 25, stated that Liaquat, during his channel's Ramazan transmission on May 24, had "aired live, un-edited and without any delay" a video call from Gujrat wherein the caller had raised a controversial religious question.
Pemra notes that Dr Liaquat "merely for creating sensation and in order to achieve maximum rating", created "unwarranted drama on the basis of religion and hurt the sentiments of different sects and public at large".
After this incident, Dr Liaquat "quit the show, leaving the live platform for the guest Ulemas who exchanged quite harsh arguments," the notification adds.
Pemra said the show's content violated Section 20(b), (c) (f) of Pemra Ordinance 2002 among others, noting that Dr Liaquat "is misusing/abusing the platform without adhering to the provisions of Pemra rules".
It is not the first time that Dr Liaquat has been accused of spreading discord and hatred in the country and subsequently faced sanctions.
In January 2017, Pemra had banned Dr Liaquat programme after he had levelled allegations of blasphemy — which has lethal consequences in most cases — against 'disappeared' civil society activists and bloggers. The abductees were later absolved of any wrongdoing.
In December 2017, he was again barred — this time by the Islamabad High Court — from making any appearances on TV after a petitioner had accused him of "handing out fatwas (religious edicts) on kufr (cardinal sin) and treason, which have put the lives of a number of people in danger".
Earlier, in 2016, Pemra had barred Liaquat from hosting Ramazan show 'Inam Ghar' on Geo Entertainment for three days following an episode in which he had distastefully re-enacted the suicide of a girl.
In 2013, he had sparked outrage by 'giving away' babies to childless couples during live coverage of his Ramazan transmission. He had defended his actions as 'charity'.
In 2011, a controversial behind-the-scenes video was released via social media showing the presenter using vulgar language and speaking crassly with his companions during different instances of his religiously oriented show.
In 2008, Dr Liaquat was widely criticised after he had hosted a TV show during which he, along with others, passed hateful comments against a minority community and discussed their murder as an act of religious duty. The show was followed within days of its airing by the murder of two people belonging to the said community.