KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the Pakistan Elect­ronic Media Regulatory Aut­hority (Pemra) to issue a circular that it has not suspended the transmission of ARY News and has no objection if cable operators restore the channel at the same position as it was operating earlier.

The bench comprising Justice Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan said that contempt application against Pemra chairman Mohammad Saleem Baig was disposed of subject to the issuance of circular during the course of day.

The management of the channel through its lawyer moved a contempt application against Pemra chief for not complying with an earlier order passed on a lawsuit to restore the transmission of the plaintiff.

When the matter came up for hearing, the Pemra chairman said the regulatory authority had not suspended the transmissions of the news channel and if such transmissions were not being aired, it might be on the part of cable operators.

SHC orders chairman to issue circular about no objection to restoration of channel

At this juncture, the counsel for channel argued that the alleged contemnor could not be absolved of his responsibility resulting in suspension of channel’s transmission.

He submitted that to affirm the position of Pemra, let the regulatory authority issue a circular addressed to the registrar of SHC with copy to the cable operators that Pemra would not object if they restore the channel to the position of Aug 7.

The lawyer for Pemra contended that the issuance of circular would not construe that the defendant has in anyway admitted the position of the plaintiff and added that Pemra chairman would adhere to any SHC order and he had not made any willful contempt.

The lawyer for the news channel argued that the SHC had already passed an order on Aug 10 that no final orders against the channel be acted upon unless directions were issued by the court. The counsel for Pemra undertook that any such orders would only be given effect once this court passed such order.

It may be recalled that on Aug 13, the SHC had also suspended a notice issued by the ministry of interior cancelling the security clearance of the channel till Aug 17.

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2022

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