LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday withdrew a petition against a de facto ban on his coverage on news channels after the Lahore High Court directed his counsel to approach the media regulatory body’s council of complaints first.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed asked the counsel for Imran Khan whether his client filed an appeal to the council of complaints of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) against the alleged ban.

The counsel stated that the petitioner directly approached the court as two petitions with similar matters were already pending adjudication.

The judge did not buy the argument and observed that the petitioner should have availed the first remedy provided in the law.

The judge disposed of the petition as the counsel intended to withdraw it.

The petition pleaded that the de facto ban was a misconceived purported implementation of a general directive to the television channels issued by the Pemra, which had not been communicated to the petitioner.

It argued that the impugned ban curbed the fundamental rights of the petitioner and also denied him the opportunity to publicly express his views to the members of his political party and the general public.

It asked the court to declare the ban on the coverage of the petitioner unconstitutional.

It also urged the court to declare that the general directive issued by the Pemra does not in any way require the de facto ban on the broadcast of the petitioner`s activities on the electronic media.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2023

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