Updated May 09, 2018 07:06pm

IHC orders halting transmission of 'circus shows' during Ramazan

Mohammad Imran

The committee was ordered to file a report on the implementation of court directives upon completion of the first 10 days of Ramazan.

Today's hearing

Justice Siddiqui, while hearing the case earlier today, had warned several popular television hosts — including Dr Amir Liaquat, Sahir Lodhi, Fahad Mustafa and Waseem Badami — to maintain decorum during Ramazan transmissions and morning shows during the holy month, or to face a ban for life.

"Dr Amir Liaquat introduced the culture of romping around [during Ramazan transmissions] and all others have started imitating him," he observed. "We will not allow such things in sehr and iftar transmissions," he asserted.

Read: No 'circus', 'neelam ghar' to be allowed on TV this Ramazan

Justice Siddiqui pointed out that while foreign experts are hired to provide detailed analysis during cricket matches, artists and cricketers are permitted to appear on TV shows to speak about matters of religion.

He suggested that only religious scholars holding no less than a PhD degree should be permitted to speak on such subjects, adding that separate instructions would be issued to eight channels falling under the terrestrial broadcaster, Pakistan Television.

"If discussions against institutions can be censored, then why can't discussions against religion be censored?" he wondered.

"What a strange spectacle it is, that hamds, naats and recitation of the Holy Quran are being aired to music," the judge noted.

Explore: Primetime: Gaming Ramazan

In yesterday's hearing of the case, Justice Siddiqui had ordered Pemra to provide details of how many of the 117 channels operating in Pakistan air the call to prayer.

Today, Pemra's director general operations presented a report in court on the matter which said that only three channels have been airing the call to prayer punctually.

He informed the court that action was being taken against all channels violating the regulatory body's code of conduct.

Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) counsel Ali Zafar told the court earlier that all channels have been operating as per the Constitution and Pemra's code of conduct. He requested the court to refrain from issuing a "general" order, and instead to direct Pemra to ensure implementation of its code of conduct.

Justice Siddiqui also asked who is airing Indian channels in Pakistan, and ordered a report to be submitted on the matter in court.

The judge had then reserved his decision after hearing the arguments from Pemra, PBA and Paksat ─ all of whose representatives were present in court today.

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