Islamabad: Pakistan’s electronic media regulator, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), has issued notices to 21 TV channels for airing unedited live telecast of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz’s press conference dated July 6, 2019 in Lahore in which she claimed that the judge of an accountability court convicted her father under coercion.
Maryam had alleged that the judge was blackmailed and had no other way but to convict Nawaz Sharif. To support her claims, she had also displayed a video clip of the judge in which he was seen admitting he was under tremendous pressure to convict Sharif despite the fact there was no material evidence against him.
Her press conference was aired live on almost all private TV channels of the country and generated a debate in the country over freedom of judiciary.
The electronic media watchdog in a belated move issued show-cause notices to all those channels that aired her press conference and directed them to explain why they committed violation of the Pemra Code of Conduct as in the press conference judiciary came under attack.
According to the notices issued to TV channels, airing of such content was in violation of the Constitution, the orders of the Supreme Court as well as Pemra laws and the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015.
Pemra directed the TV channels to refrain from airing any part of the press conference as it would be considered a “deliberate attempt to violate” the directives as well as orders of the judiciary.
The media regulatory body said that the telecast of such content was in violation of Section 20 of Pemra Ordinance.
Additionally, the notice said that the unedited live telecast was contemptuous to the orders of the Supreme Court.
The notice stated that in a suo motu case order dated September 12, 2018, the apex court had “expressed serious concerns on unprofessional and biased programmes/content on sensitive matters and had ordered Pemra to ensure compliance of [the] code of conduct”.
In her press conference, Maryam Nawaz had quoted the judge as saying that he contemplated “suicide” because of the pressure he was facing.
He was also surprised to learn how “they” had managed to get a hold of a 10 years old video, she added.
All this was shown live on TV channels prompting the judge, Arshad Malik, to issue a press release next day (Sunday) dismissing all claims of Maryam Nawaz and asserting that he had convicted her father, the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, on the basis of solid evidence. The judge also claimed the video clip shown by Maryam during her press conference was false and out of context.
Call for PM’s resignation
Meanwhile, Maryam has demanded the resignation of the country’s incumbent leader Imran Khan, the media reported on Monday.
Addressing Khan in her speech in a post-midnight rally on Sunday in Mandi Bahauddin, she said: “Give your resignation. Go home,” reports Dawn news.
Maryam also said that keeping her father Sharif in jail will be a crime now, following Saturday’s “evidence” alleging that his sentencing had been given under “immense pressure from hidden hands”.
In her address, which was held on Jail Road, she claimed that Nawaz “will be released, and will become prime minister once more — but this time more powerful than ever before”.
At a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, Maryam said that the entire judicial process regarding the trial that led to her father being convicted and sentenced to prison was severely compromised.
She also played a secretly recorded video that she claimed featured a conversation between Nasir Butt, a man she described as a loyal fan of Sharif, and Malik, who had in December last year sentenced Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference and acquitted him in the Flagship Investment case.