The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Saturday issued show cause notices to news channels which had aired a controversial speech by former PML-N senator Syed Nehal Hashmi allegedly criticising the armed forces while defending the role of politicians in the development of the country.

Hashmi, who had previously been imprisoned for his controversial remarks against the judiciary, while addressing a function at the Karachi Medical and Dental College on Friday, reportedly said that the armed forces had “done nothing for the defence and betterment of the country” and that the weapons acquired for the defence were “merely showpieces”.

The outspoken politician's speech was subsequently broadcast on TV channels — something which Pemra has deemed a violation of its code of conduct.

The regulatory body, in its notification today, asked news channels why they had aired the speech of an individual who has a history of making controversial remarks. It also instructed the said channels to explain why they should not be punished with a fine or even a suspension.

Soon after Hashmi’s hard-hitting speech went on air, the PML-N had launched a damage control exercise and dissociated itself from what the former senator had said about the military.

Senior PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah had said that Hashmi’s statement had nothing to do with the party and reflected his personal views.

“Mr Hashmi has been expelled from the PML-N, so the party cannot take any action against him,” the former Punjab law minister said. “He was sacked after he refused to step down as a senator on party orders over the statement that he made against the judiciary. One may disagree with state institutions but this is not the way to register a protest.”

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