ISLAMABAD - The law ministry has sent back the ball in the court of Pakistan electronic media regulatory authority with legal advice on the ongoing controversy over the complaint of defence ministry against Geo TV, saying that PEMRA is the competent forum to resolve the matter.

Talking to media persons at the parliament house on Wednesday, Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed said the government has no powers to interfere into the affairs of PEMRA. He said the law ministry has said in its legal advice that all matters related to suspension of licence of GEO TV are semi-judicial and authority has the powers to resolve it. The law ministry needed some time to look into all legal aspects of the matter for giving its opinion and it was the basic reason for the delay, he added.

He said no minister should have power to ban or resume transmission of any channel and government will consider the valid opinion of PEMRA in this regard. Rasheed said that armed forces have no agenda, adding the army is a national institution and media should point out those who want division among national intuitions.

He said that the government wants to constitute a media commission for implementation on PEMRA rules and regulations with the consultation of all stakeholders. He said the representatives of APNS, PBA, CPNE and APNS would be part of that media commission.

Rasheed made it clear that in the capacity of information minister he had met with Mir Shakeelur Rahman and contacted the owners of ARY TV, Dunya TV and other news channels and discussed the code of conduct with them.

 The minister said that cable operators should not take law into their hands, as nobody is above the law.

He said that he gave very much importance to Shaista Lodhi’s apology over the inadvertent mistake in her morning show, adding that the nation should forgive her. In civilised societies the apology is a vow that the mistake would not be repeated in future, Rasheed said.

Later on, the federal minister met the members of national commission on the status of women headed by Khawar Mumtaz, chairperson of the commission. He urged media to promote women rights by highlighting their issues. He said the government was committed to ensuring women empowerment, as their participation will not only help in sustainable development but will also raise the true and democratic image of Pakistan.