ISLAMABAD – National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Thursday approached the Islamabad High Court against Pemra’s Council of Complaints’ decision wherein it had turned down his contention against a private TV channel and its anchor Rauf Klasra.
He moved the petition through his counsel Hafiz SA Rehman and cited the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) through its chairman, M/S Galaxy Broadcast Network (Pvt) Ltd that is Channel 92 and Rauf Klasra as respondents.
The NA speaker has filed the petition under section 30-A of PEMRA Ord 2002 against the order dated July 31, 2017, by the PEMRA’s council of complaints.
He has contended in the petition that he through his authorised person, Abdul Jabbar Ali, the then secretary National Assembly, had filed a complaint before the PEMRA chairman on September 7, 2016, against false allegations telecasted by Channel-92 on September 6, 2016, through its programme ‘Muqabil’. In the said programme, anchorperson Klasra levelled false allegations against the petitioner for kidnapping the father of a NADRA official to pressurise him to refrain from documenting evidence of alleged rigging in NA-122 from where the petitioner contested the election and won the seat.
The National Assembly speaker said that Klasra did not limit these accusations to the petitioner alone but he involved the elder son of the petitioner, Dr Ali Sadiq, and the NADRA chairman in his deceitful allegations. So much so that he even maligned the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the GHQ office while saying the COAS was in the complete picture of the alleged crime and in fact protected the kidnappers by negotiating the release of the hostages.
He argued that these allegations were extremely outrageous, atrocious and completely false. These allegations not only degraded the constitutional office of the speaker NA but also disparaged the COAS and armed forces of Pakistan as well.
The petitioner said that he had filed an application to PEMRA attaching CD of the programme and the transcript, seeking stern action against Channel-92 and a lifetime ban on Klasra for appearing on the electronic media.
He contended that the PEMRA referred this application to its Islamabad’s Council of Complaints for opinion. According to the petitioner, PEMRA instead of dealing with the sensitivity of this issue remained busy about the technicalities. The council of complaints in its 43rd meeting asked the parties to appear and Channel 92 submitted a written defence against the complaint.
According to the petitioner, PEMRA’s Council of Complaints did incongruity while hearing the matter and proceeded ex-parte to oblige the channel and its anchor. He added that so much so that the Council of Complaints attributed some arguments to the complainant that he never forwarded. The Council of Complaint on its own gave an impression that it heard both the parties and in fact the complainant had only made a request for an adjournment due to certain reasons.
Sadiq maintained that the PEMRA’s Council of Complaint decided this matter against all norms of justice, after the expiry of the statutory period, without providing reply of Klasra to the petitioner and preparing incorrect minutes of the meetings.
He has prayed to the court to set aside PEMRA’s Counsel of Complaint order dated July 31, 2017, and redress grievance of the petitioner.