KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and cable operators to immediately restore the transmission of ARY News.

The SHC also extended the time to respond to an impugned show-cause notice, issued by Pemra to the news channel, up to Aug 15 and restrained Pemra from suspending or revoking the licence of channel till Aug 17 after the channel’s counsel assured the court that PTI leader Shahbaz Gill would not be allowed to appear on the channel, subject to further court orders.

However, the single-judge bench headed by Justice Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan said that Pemra would be at liberty to consider the submissions of the channel upon submission of a suitable response to the show-cause notice and the plaintiff would be given fair opportunity to ensure that all legal requirements were fulfilled, but no final order be passed till Aug 17.

The counsel further undertook that the plaintiff would use extreme caution in respect of the individuals who have tendency of uttering certain words or express a stand point which may create basis of issuance of a similar show cause notice in the future. The bench issued these directives during a preliminary hearing of a lawsuit filed by the management of news channel impugning a show-cause notice issued by Pemra on Aug 8.

The lawyer for Pemra said the authority has not passed any order for banning the channel nor has issued any direction to any cable operator to remove the channel from the cable. The bench also issued notices to Pemra and other defendants as well as deputy attorney general for Aug 17.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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