ISLAMABAD  - Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday summoned director general Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and officials of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in person in a petition seeking ban on coverage of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

The bench also again served notices to interior, law, defense ministries and PTM’s activists including Manzoor Pashteen, Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar to sought reply on June 13. Justice Aamer Farooq said the freedom of expression was not unlimited.

The IHC bench directed Pashteen, Dawar, Wazir, ministry of law and justice, ministry of defence, PEMRA and PTA to submit their replies in this connection. It also sought written response from the ministry of interior in this matter.

The court also summoned Director General (DG) Internet Protocol of PTA to appear before the court in person on the next hearing to be held on June 13 and deferred the proceedings. The court issued these directions while hearing of a petition moved by Colonel retired Javed Iqbal through his counsel Barrister Shoaib Razzaq.

 In his petition, the petitioner prayed to the court to direct federation and other concerned respondents to take appropriate action against PTM’s leaderships under the prevailing laws in the best interest of the country and to uphold the respect and prestige of Pakistan army. He prayed that the court may ban PTM which had neither been registered as a political party nor any as a corporate body, just an association of persons and all those were held responsible for maligning Pakistan army and other state institutions are trial under appropriate criminal laws.

 The petitioner requested the court to declare that Pashteen, Dawar and Wazir as violator of Code of Conduct, 2015 and PEMRA Ordinance 2002 and that the Respondent No. 5 (PTA) has failed to stop and act against their violations.

He further requested the court to declare that these people have used electronic media and social media for hate speech, incitation, and abetting, glamorizing and or justifying violence, commission of crime, terror and which has lead to or will lead to serious public disorder. Therefore, they are liable to be banned for lifetime on all medium including but not limited to print media, electronic media and social media.

 He was of the view that it should be declared that these people have maligned the state institutions and an attempt has been made to create division amongst the different ranks of Pakistan army and therefore, the court may direct Respondent No.5 and 6 (PEMRA and PTA respectively) to take serious action against them and ban them from hosting, appearing in any manner, including but not limited to, as a guest, analyst, reporter, actor, in audio, video, beeper, promo/advertisement in any electronic media.

 Petitioner also sought court’s directions to PTA to immediately delete/block all social media accounts of the Respondent No. 4, 7 and 8 on all forums available on Internet or otherwise.