PTI to move IHC against telethon ‘blackout’

Published September 13, 2022
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry addresses a press conference on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday slammed the government for allegedly blocking the transmission of the telethon that the party had arranged on Sunday night for collecting donations from the overseas Pakistanis and announced its decision to challenge the government move before the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The party also decided to take the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to the court for issuing notices to the party leaders in connection with the investigations into the foreign funding case in line with the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The decisions were announced by party’s senior vice-president Fawad Chaudhry at a news conference after former premier Imran Khan presided over a meeting of PTI’s political committee.

During the presser, which was also addressed by Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Senator Sania Nishtar, Mr Fawad lashed out at PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, accusing them of trying to “physically eliminate” Mr Khan after failing to eliminate him politically.

Fawad alleges efforts being made to ‘physically eliminate’ Imran

He said Ms Nawaz’s media cell and PML-N’s strategic cell were busy in constantly targeting the PTI chairman.

Mr Chaudhry said PTI was the only party that had arranged two telethons drawing pledges for a total of Rs11bn donations for flood-affected people. He said there was no political agenda behind the telethons, which were arranged for the help of flood survivors. However, he said, the government and other institutions shut down four TV channels broadcasting the telethon.

He criticised government’s claim that it was not behind the suspension of the transmission and asked the authorities to disclose the identity of those behind the media blackout. Otherwise, he said, the PTI would drag the government to court where it would be asked to expose the names of those who made phone calls for the closure of the TV channels.

According to a press release issued by the PTI central media department, Mr Khan said the blackout of the telethon was “shameful”. Silencing of the media in such a shameful way in Pakistan could not be tolerated, he said, adding that the party would raise the issue of media censorship at all levels.

‘Hate campaign’

Mr Chaudhry, who had previously served as the information minister in the PTI government, alleged a ‘group of journalists’ was twisting various statements of the PTI chairman in an effort to create hatred against him on religious grounds.

“They are working on the plan to murder Imran and spreading religious hatred,” he said, adding that the PML-N-led ruling coalition was the only government that first registered blasphemy cases and then terrorism cases against its political opponents.

“They are trying to flare up religious hatred against Mr Khan by releasing his speeches in chunks,” he claimed.

About the committee meeting, Mr Chaudhry said the party expressed concern over worsening economic condition and the PTI chief formed an economic committee under the chairmanship of former finance minister Shaukat Tarin to come with proposals to steer the country out of the economic crisis.

About his reported meeting with the US ambassador and Mr Khan’s meeting with a former US diplomat Robin Raphael, he said: “We are not at war with the US ….. political engagements with the US will continue.”

The PTI leader said there was no harm in meeting the US ambassador, who had recently also visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Regarding Mr Khan’s meeting with Ms Raphael, he said he had not talked to the PTI chairman on this matter but added that she was a former diplomat and had nothing to do with the US government.

The PTI alleges that the party’s government was removed in April through the no confidence motion at the behest of a conspiracy hatched by the US.

Earlier in the day, Mr Khan after appearing before a court in a case had evaded questions of reporters about his meeting with the former US diplomat. In response to a question, he angrily said he should not be compared with the “thief Nawaz Sharif” and “terrorist Altaf Hussain” in the context of “minus-one” formula that the PTI claims was on the cards.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2022

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