The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to submit CDs of the Miss Veet Competition before September 11.

The decision to ask PEMRA for these CDs is based on a petition filed by advocate Tariq Asad that the obscenity and vulgarity on TV channels is not being monitored. A similar petition had already been filed before by advocate Waqas Malik, and was lying pending. A resubmission has finally pushed the case to be taken up by the court.

Advocate Tariq Asad believes that shows such as these promote western values, liberalism, and make the public believe that they have the freedom of speech in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He has pointed out that shows on Hum TV promote vulgar dramas, entertainment shows, and shameless award ceremonies. He believes that if our youth is exposed to such content, they may go astray and Pakistan will remain in shambles.

What he is forgetting at this point is that gone are the days of PTV, when the public only had one national narrative and was not being exposed to any sort of outer perspective. The digitalised world of today gives a lot of access to the public. It not only provides a multitude of opinions, ideas and perspectives, but also a large variety of content to absorb.

Hence, Hum TV is not the problem here. Individuals attempting to dictate what morality entails is. The state providing a moral compass to its citizens is an outmoded concept. In a country where problems are legion, institutions need to focus on dispensing justice to the people and protecting their rights, instead of curbing free speech in the name of morals.

It is extremely difficult to follow an isolationist approach in today’s day and age, which not only harms the overall growth of the society but also promotes ideas of extremism. And Pakistan has already suffered enough at the hands of the extremists. Hence, it is very important to not curb dissenting voices.

The decision at the end lies with Justice Shaukat Aziz, and Pakistan and its institutions are known for their misplaced priorities and our emphasis on moral policing. The honourable Justice’s court has often become associated with petitions looking to change the ideological direction of Pakistan. Let’s see what the verdict is in this case, and whether or not it will push Pakistan towards a progressive path.