ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Friday directed the secretary information technology to submit a report regarding controlling live transmission of incidents like shooting at Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad. The TV channels broadcast all the activities of Sikandar, who entered Blue Area of the federal capital last week with his wife Kanwal and two kids, Abdullah and Umme Farwa, live for five hours. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench, which heard Tariq Asad Advocate’s petition about the incident, said there should not be live coverage of such events, which encourage the terrorists and spread fear among the masses.
The court expressed anger over the government officers’ slackness to submit replies. On the last hearing (19th August) the bench had directed the interior secretary, inspector general of Islamabad police, chairman Pemra, chief commissioner and district magistrate Islamabad to submit para-wise comments regarding the episode.
The Chief Justice said Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) also seemed helpless on the Ziarat episode. He said there should be a mechanism that Pemra could block the live coverage of TV channels for showing such kinds of incidents.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said due to firing incident Sikandar got much fame free of cost that he could not have got even by spending Rs 200 million.
Zulfiqar Maluka, counsel for Pemra, said the chairman had telephoned the TV channels to stop the live transmission but they did not follow the instructions. He said they wanted to take action against the channels for not complying with the orders, but Article 19 of Constitution creates hurdles in that regard.
The Chief Justice observed that Pemra issues licences to the TV channels conditionally, therefore, they were bound to abide by the Pemra regulations.
About the role of district magistrate, the CJP said according to Pemra rules, the district magistrate has power to bar the live transmission.
He ordered to the committee set up on the issue to make the magistrate effective. The court questioned from where Kanwal, wife of Sikandar, got the number of district magistrate.
The CJP said in the Lal Masjid and Jinnah Avenue firing incidents, the district magistrate was nowhere in the picture.
The district magistrate upon that said he was informed that Islamabad police did not have capability to tackle such incidents.
Justice Azmat Saeed upon that remarked, “But there are lady police in Islamabad police who are very good sharp shooters.” Secretary Interior Qamaruz Zaman assured the apex court that no such incident will occur in future, as the government is evolving a strategy to avoid such like incidents. The hearing was adjourned till September 5.