TV channels served show-cause notice for airing Ishaq Dar’s interview

Former finance minister Ishaq Dar during an interview on BBC News’ show “HARDtalk”. — BBC screengrab

Private TV channels were issued show-cause notices for airing former finance minister and PML-N leader Ishaq Dar’s interview,   Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority announced on Thursday.

The institution, in a tweet, said: “PEMRA has issued show-cause notices to private TV channels for rebroadcast[ing] former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s interview.”

Dar, in an interview on BBC News’ show “HARDtalk”, had spoke on several issues — the National Accountability Bureau, his return, 2018 general elections, former premier Nawaz Sharif’s allegations against the army, among other things.

In October, after Nawaz’s fierce speeches, and as the Opposition formed an alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement — to oust the government, PEMRA had banned the broadcast of speeches, interviews, and public addresses by absconders and proclaimed offenders.

“A self-explanatory complaint (has been) received from Mr. Muhammad Azhar Siddique against the several news channels in particular who aired the interview/speech/ public addresses of an absconder or a proclaimed offender,” read PEMRA’s notice.

PEMRA said that it was found upon investigating the complaint that news channels were violating the earlier directive of the Authority which had been issued on May 27, 2019, on proclaimed offenders.

The Supreme Court, in 2017, had declared the former finance minister an absconder when he had failed to appear before it as he was in London, reportedly undergoing medical treatment.

Dar, since then, has been residing in London.

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