ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Senator Pervez Rashid said on Wednesday that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), being an autonomous body, had the full authority to resolve issues relating to its domain, including the current one involving Geo network.
“Pemra is an independent body and the government does not want to interfere in its matters,” he told reporters at the Parliament House.
Senator Rashid, who is also the law minister, said the ministry had forwarded its recommendations on the issue to the information ministry, which would be sent to Pemra.
“The power of decision had been given to Pemra which can give a verdict in accordance with the law and constitution.”
About his recent unscheduled visit to Dubai, the minister said the media crisis had been gripping the nation and it was the responsibility of the government to try and defuse the situation.
“I have met the leaders of Pakistan Broadcasters’ Association, APNS, journalists’ body, the top management of several news channels, so I met the top management of Geo TV network in Dubai,” he said, adding: “We are looking to form a broad-based commission to implement Pemra rulings.”
The minister said such a commission was required because times had changed and there was need for strict implementation of Pemra’s decisions.
“Twenty-two stay orders have been obtained by various TV channels against Pemra decisions. This is not a right precedent and that is why we are trying to consult all stakeholders so that the decisions and rulings of the regulator are accepted and implemented.”
In reply to a question about an ongoing tussle within the media, the minister expressed his sadness over the situation and said that not only was the case going in the wrong direction, but also certain ‘sick-minded people’ had entered the scene.
“The sick-minded people are those who believe in violence and killing those not belonging to their faith or agreeing with their ideas,” he said. “Now there are decrees branding me to be out of Islam. This is not fair,” the minister said.
Pervez Rashid also said that those dragging the name of the armed forces in the current situation were ‘naive’.
“Army is a respectable institution and it is ours. One should avoid those who are engaged in disparaging its reputation,” he said. “The army is not a party. They carry the national flag and not that of any political group.”