Move to shut down Geo challenged in SHC

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KARACHI: A division bench of the Sindh High Court, after hearing in detail a petition filed by the Independent Media Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. to challenge the arbitrary manner in which the federal government acting through ministries of interior and defence has complained to Pemra seeking cancellation of Geo News licence issued notices to both the federal government and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) calling for their comments here on Wednesday.

In its detailed order, the division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, issued notices to the federal government through the Ministry of Information and also to Pemra and has called for comments on Geo’s petition, fixing May 2 as the next date of hearing.

In its petition, the Jang Group had contended that all over the world, it is routine for victims’ families to express suspicions for the help of investigating agencies. In England, a non UK citizen Mohammad Al Fayed has been conducting more than a decade of court battles to prove that his son Dodi Al Fayed and Lady Diana were murdered by MI6 of the UK. On his request, various inquests have taken place and the media has routinely reported proceedings of the court. No one has questioned this allegation as damaging the respect of MI6.

In the petition, Geo Jang Group has contended that while on the one hand, the federal government got a judicial commission set up headed by Justice Anwer Zaheer Jamali to look into the allegations of Hamid Mir’s family, on the other hand, without waiting for the findings of the judicial commission, it has reportedly filed a complaint with Pemra to cancel the Geo News licence.

In the petition, Geo has contended that on April 19, April 20 and also on April 21, no official of Pemra or that of the Ministry of Defence, contacted them to express unhappiness over the transmission and then without any prior communication, all of a sudden, the minister of interior and minister of defence filed complaints with Pemra.

In the petition, it has also been contended that the haste and arbitrariness that has been shown by the federal government when filing the complaint, the petitioner expects no fair, transparent and impartial adjudication on merit by Pemra, which has to-date never decided against the government of the day.

It was also pointed out that despite the worst kind of defamation that was conducted against the superior judiciary of Pakistan, to-date Pemra has not cancelled a single broadcasting licence.

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