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IHC suspends PEMRA notification banning Imran’s live speeches

Justice Minallah says PEMRA prima facie appears to have exceeded authority; suspends notification till Sept 5

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended on Monday the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) notification banning live telecast of former premier Imran Khan’s speeches.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing the ex-prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief’s plea challenging the ban, observed that prima facie it appears that PEMRA exceeded its authority. The IHC sent a notice to the PEMRA and the attorney general of Pakistan.

Justice Minallah further added that, “In the current situation, there is no proper reason to ban Imran Khan’s speech. The PEMRA has no power to issue any such restraining order.”

The court further directed PEMRA to nominate an officer to appear and explain the issuance of the notification, suspending the notification till the next hearing scheduled for September 5.

‘Can Imran’s speech be justified?’

During today’s hearing, PTI lawyer Ali Zafar argued that, “Today Imran Khan is raising funds for flood victims, especially from overseas Pakistanis. However, he has been banned from giving a live speech. PEMRA’s notification says that Imran Khan’s speech is against national interest.”

The court then directed to read PEMRA’s notification according to which Imran had threatened the IG, DIG and Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry. After the notification was read out the court observed, “Do you justify Imran Khan’s speech. Freedom of expression is protected by the court but some things fall outside of it.”

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