Controversial Bol TV show Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga hosted by anchor Aamir Liaquat Hussain resumed on Wednesday after the Sindh High Court granted a stay order in the evening.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ordered the channel’s management to respond to the electronic media regulator’s notice banning the show for containing hate speech.
The court disposed of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) appeal against an SHC order, which had stayed the ban on the show on Jan 27 by suspending the regulator’s ban of Jan 26.
However, the apex court clarified that the channel’s management could appeal Pemra’s decision before a high court if it was aggrieved by the regulator’s decisions, adding that the court would have to decide the case after hearing all parties.
Later, the channel’s management approached the SHC and a division bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, while issuing notices to the respondents and the deputy attorney general for Feb 22, suspended the operation of the Pemra’s letter dated Jan 26.
In the Supreme Court, the management of M/s Labbaik (Pvt) Ltd — the owners of Bol TV — was directed by a three-judge bench to respond to the show-cause notices issued by Pemra, while also reviving the authority’s earlier notice, issued to the channel on April 16, 2015 for not securing security clearance of its directors from the interior ministry.
It also set aside contempt of court notices against Pemra Chairman Absar Alam, issued by the SHC. The TV show was banned by Pemra based on complaints that the host had, between Jan 2 and Jan 24, 2017, levelled unfounded and baseless allegations against certain activists and journalists, accusing them of being “anti-Pakistan” and “anti-Islam”, which had endangered innocent lives.
Advocate Zahid Ebrahim, appearing on behalf of Pemra, told the court that the SHC should have disposed of its suspension order when it was informed that the authority had withdrawn its notice over the channel’s licence.
Later, when another notice was served on the channel for their failure to provide security clearance, the management of the channel approached the high court in the same appeal, which in turn issued contempt notices against the Pemra chairman.
Justice Amir Hani Muslim wondered how interim orders of a different nature could be issued by the high courts in the same appeal.
The observation came when the Pemra counsel argued that the management of the channel had moved various miscellaneous applications on different subjects in a single appeal, which challenged the authority’s notice on licensing and security clearance.
Aamir Liaquat, who was also present in the courtroom on Wednesday, requested the court to issue a restraining order against social media activists who, he feared, would launch a smear campaign against him. He also denied inciting violence against any individuals in his show.
The court, however, observed that it was neither seized with such an issue nor could it restrain anyone from talking to the media.