ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Wednesday directed to ban all programmes containing lottery and gambling on TV channels during the holy month of Ramazan.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued these directions while disposing of a petition against the violation of code of conduct for morning shows and Ramazan transmission by some TV channels.

The IHC bench also banned the airing of programmes like ‘Neelam Ghar’ and those appearing to be like a circus show during the holy month.

Justice Siddiqui noted in the order: “It is responsibility of the state to provide an atmosphere in accordance with the teachings and requirement of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. As such indecency, morality and obscenity of any kind and nature is against injunction of Islam and offensive to guarantees provided by organic law of the country i.e. the Constitution.”

The judgment said: “No programme suggestive of containing lottery and gambling, even apparently for a noble purpose like Haj and Umrah tickets etc shall be aired either live or recorded.

According to the verdict, no programme in violation of PEMRA guidelines should be aired, and stern action will be taken against violators after strict monitoring.

“No activity in [an] individual or collective capacity of any citizen can be allowed which is against the glory of Islam, integrity, security or defence of Pakistan, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court,” read the verdict.

It added: “All law enforcing agencies and regulatory bodies are under statutory obligations to ensure that no activity prejudicial to the glory of Islam and the Constitution is permitted, individually or collectively on electronic or print media,”

The court also directed the Information Ministry, Interior Ministry and Pemra to ensure the points, including complete ban on advertisements, dramas and films of foreign origin, India in particular, 10 per cent of foreign TV contents which is permissible as per rules shall be allowed to be aired, subject to approval by the committee consisting of secretaries noted above and the chairman Pemra. The committee shall ensure that contents proposed to be aired are not in conflict with the injunctions of Islam, Constitution, Pemra laws, code of conduct and judgements of the superior courts of the country, no programme shall be aired [in Ramazan] resulting in distorting the spirit of this holy month. Ramazan being month of Holy Quran should be observed in promoting the meanings and message of Quran in vernacular languages and all TV channels should broadcast the call to prayer five times a day.

The verdict said that no advertisements can be aired at least five minutes prior to the breaking of the fast. Instead, Durood Sharif and dua must be offered for the solidarity, prosperity, peace and tranquillity of Pakistan, well-being of all citizens and promotion of tolerance, forgiveness, sacrifices and acceptance of prayers. It stated that it is expected of all channels and licencees of PEMRA that [the] respect and spirit of the holy month of Ramazan is not compromised by any host or guest, either through appearance, or any act or words spoken.

In the judgment, the committee was ordered to file a report on the implementation of court directives upon completion of the first 10 days of Ramazan. The petition was moved by Muhammad Waqas Malik Advocate saying that according to the Article 2 of the constitution of Pakistan, Islam shall be religion of the state.

Further it is in the constitution under different articles that the state shall enable people of Pakistan to live their lives according to the teachings of Islam. But public at large is immensely invaded by the nude and filthy stuff through TV channels and they are helpless.