SHC asks ministry, Pemra, cable operators to submit reply

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday directed the Ministry of Information, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the cable operators to file comments on applications of Jang, Geo and The News employees against non-restoration of Geo News, Geo Tez, Geo Kahani and Geo Entertainment transmission by the cable operators.

Jang Employees Union’s President Shakeel Yameen Kanga, The News Employees Union’s Secretary Naqeebur Rehman and Geo TV reporter Abdul Jawad filed applications for becoming interveners in the petitions of Independent Media Corporation and Independent News Corporation against non-restoration of Geo News, Geo Tez, Geo Entertainment and Geo Kahani transmission.

The applicants submitted that thousands of Jang and Geo TV employees were facing hardships due to closure of Geo News, Geo Entertainment, Geo Tez and Geo Kahani by the cable operators and prayed the court to allow them to become interveners in the petitions. The Pemra and cable operators counsel Kashif Hanif and S Amir Ali waived notices on the applications and undertook to file comments on the applications.

Petitioner counsel Behazad Haider submitted that private cable operators did not comply with the orders of the Pemra and broadcast of the Geo News, Geo Entertainment, Geo Tez and Geo Kahani remained suspended till filing of the petition. He submitted that blocking the transmission of the Geo TV channels was the violation of the Supreme Court and High Court’s orders that restrained the Pemra and cable operators from blocking or interfering in the smooth transmission of the Geo News, Geo Entertainment, Geo Kahani and Geo Tez.

SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi granting the applications of interveners for hearing and directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pemra and cable operators to file comments on the applications by September 2 and observed that court would pass appropriate order after hearing the counsel of respondents.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pemra and cable operators including Syed Imran Haider Abidi of Home Vision Network, Kazim (Acting CEO) of Media Plus Communication, Ghufran Mujtaba of City Communication, Ikhlaq Ahmed of Karachi Cable Service, Mehmood Ahmed Aryan, City Communication Cable Network, Sukkur, Ahmed Ali of A A Cable Network, Nawabshah, Skyline Cable Network, Muhammad Hussain of Track Communication, Zahir Ali of City Cable Network, Hyderabad, Sheikh Asim Rasool of New Asia Communication and Nadir Shahani of Highway Communication were cited as respondents in the petitions.

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