ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah asked Imran Khan’s lawyer whether he could justify the way the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman had questioned the patriotism of the armed forces.

Addressing a public gathering in Faisalabad on Sunday, Mr Khan had expressed apprehensions that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari were opposing snap elections because they wanted to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases. He insisted only a patriotic officer must be appointed to the top post on merit.

Justice Minallah, who was was hearing a petition against the ban on live coverage of Imran Khan’s speeches, condemned the “irresponsible” comments he made in his party’s rally regarding the next army chief’s appointment. The court had last week suspended the directives of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which banned live coverage of Mr Khan’s speeches on electronic media.

Plea on Imran’s live coverage ban disposed of; Pemra directed to regulate in light of SC guidelines

During the hearing, Justice Minallah termed Mr Khan’s statement “irresponsible’, and asked the PTI chief’s counsel whether they could justify the remarks on the patriotism of armed forces’ officers, who were currently carrying out rescue and relief activities in flood-affected areas as well as laying down their lives for the country. He also asked the PTI counsel as to why their leadership was harming constitutional institutions that only added to their difficulties.

Justice Minallah, however, disposed of the petition on Monday, directing Pemra to regulate the issue in light of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

Previously, the apex court had directed Pemra to devise a standard operating procedure for live coverage, in pursuant to which the electronic media had introduced a time-delay mechanism.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2022

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