LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Full Bench on Friday directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to immediately stop airing on television channels a paid content by PPP containing a reported alleged conversation between former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Justice (Retd) Malik Muhammad Qayyum.

The Full Bench passed the orders on a petition moved by Shahbaz Sharif who made Election Commission of Pakistan, PEMRA, Pakistan Broadcasting Association and Pakistan Peoples Party/Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians as party in the plea.

The bench also issued notices to PPPP through its Secretary General for reply on May 4 and sought appearance of a responsible person on behalf of the party.

Advocate Muhammad Shoaib Rashid, petitioner’s counsel, argued that his client was contesting elections for NA-129, PP-159, PP-161 of Lahore and PP-247 of Rajanpur.

He said the PPP/PPPP had started a defamatory advertising campaign in the electronic media against the petitioner by using a false and fabricated telephonic conversion between Shahbaz Sharif and Malik Qayyum.

He submitted that the petitioner had moved the application before the ECP asking it to take action against the PPP in violation of code of conduct for political parties, but no action was taken so far.

Under Section 16 and 17 of the code of conduct, all political parties shall refrain from deliberate dissemination of false and malicious information about the other political parties and leaders, the counsel contended.

He said the paid content was an attempt to create adverse image of the petitioner in the public at large.

He requested the court to declare the advertisement being telecasted at the behest of the PPPP as illegal and unlawful.

He also requested the court to issue directions to ECP to take immediate action to stop telecasting the advertisement.

The petitioner also prayed the court to restrain the PPPP and PBA from telecasting the ad.

A law officer of ECP appeared before the bench and submitted that the commission had already taken notice of the advertisement and restrained PEMRA from airing the same on TV channels. After recording the arguments, the bench issued barred the PEMRA from airing the audio ad on all the TV channels.

The court also issued notice to PPPP for Saturday (today) and directed the ECP to place on record a written copy of notice issued to the PEMRA.