FIF’s media coverage banned to immobilise its fundraising, IHC told

Published November 24, 2018
Volunteers of FIF  distribute free medicine to people affected by an earthquake. — Reuters/File
Volunteers of FIF distribute free medicine to people affected by an earthquake. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) - an offshoot of Jamatud Dawa - was among organisations on the watch list of the United Nations (UN) and a ban on its media coverage was imposed to immobilise its fundraising.

In its reply submitted to the IHC in response to a petition filed by FIF against the ban on its media coverage, the ministry stated: “Placing a ban on any kind of media coverage is intended to prevent the generation of funds and donations through media advertisement and coverage of these organisations which is a violation of the asset freeze requirement under UNSC 1267 sanctions.”

Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC on Friday reserved his decision on the petition after hearing the counsel for the foreign ministry, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the petitioner.

The government earlier this year banned Jamatud Dawa (JuD) through a presidential ordinance and issued directions for banning the media coverage of FIF.

The foreign ministry said: “Implementation of the decision of UN Security Council (UNSC) taken under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter is an international obligation from which there is no exception.” It said the “restriction in this case has been imposed in pursuant to the implementation of sanctions of the 1267 Sanction Regime of the UNSC.”

According to the reply, the UNSC imposed sanctions on FIF because of its association with Lashkar-i-Taiba.

Pemra in its written reply said that on Jan 18, 2018, the information ministry wrote a letter to it asking for a ban on FIF’s media coverage. The authority then issued directions to the electronic media.

FIF’s counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi and Sohail Warraich requested the court to direct Pemra and the information ministry to lift the ban on the media coverage of FIF.

Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood Khan argued that the government had frozen FIF’s assets and how it (FIF) can run a media campaign without paying the cost of advertisements. He requested the court not to lift the ban as it would send out a bad signal to the international community.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2018

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