Daily Briefs

Photo : The Friday Times

17 January 2020, Friday

PTI minister shows a military boot in a TV interview; PEMRA bans the host

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

What happened?
In a TV show, one of the PTI ministers shows a military boot to the PML-N panellists telling that the shine of the boot was because the PML-N used their tongues to polish it. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), as a follow up to this indecency in public, decided to ban the host of the show for 60 days!

The ARY News has a live talk show "Off the Record" hosted by Kashif Abbasi. Earlier this week, the show hosted Faisal Vawda, the federal Minister for Water Resources, along with two leaders from the PML-N and PPP. During the show, the federal minister placed a black boot on the table and quoted to have stated, "I am going to bring this [boot] to every talk show…They (PML-N) lay down to kiss the boot…It cannot be shined by human hands. The limit to which they have stooped, it looks like the boot has been shined by their [the PML-N leadership's] tongues." (The News) His remarks were aimed at showing the PML-N's support to the recent bill to extend the tenure of the army chief.

The PEMRA in its notification, banned the host for 60 days, as the show was "willful attempt to debase and demean a state institution by dragging it unnecessarily in a debate."

What is the background?
In early January 2020, the PTI government introduced three bills to extend the tenures of the three military chiefs. The bills were passed in record time by the Parliament, with the PPP and PML-N supporting the same. The bills were introduced by the PTI, following a court verdict on the extension of Gen Bajwa.

Earlier, the Prime Minister in August 2019, had issued a notification that claimed: "General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure." In November 2019, the Supreme Court passed a verdict that the appointment has to be approved by the Parliament and be in accordance with the law.

While the smaller parties opposed the bills, the PPP and PML-N fell in line and approved the bills, thereby an extension of the tenures.

During the talk show, the PTI minister showed the military boot linking PML-N's support to the bills with the party's position on the Establishment.

When the PEMRA imposed a ban on the host, the Association of Electronic Media Editors (AEMEND) questioned the PEMRA's intention. It said: "This unusual haste, where neither the channel nor the anchor was given a chance to explain their position, shows that PEMRA acted with malafide intent." (GeoTV). It also stated, "In the said program, a sitting minister representing the federal government performed a questionable act and PEMRA, instead of asking the government to take action against the said minister, banned the show and the anchor who never endorsed the act of minister." (The News)

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