PM lifts short-lived PEMRA ban on Imran’s speeches

The government on Saturday instructed the Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to reverse a ban on television channels from broadcasting or rebroadcasting PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s press conferences.

According to a statement released by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the media watchdog to ensure the continued implementation of legal requirements under Article 19 (freedom of speech) of the Constitution.

The statement said that the direction to lift the ban was given under Section 5 of the Pemra Ordinance 2002.

“The prime minister has established a new tradition by ending the bitter traditions of Imran Khan’s era,” the information minister said, adding that the government did not believe in “what Imran Khan did during his four years in power” with the then opposition leaders and politicians.

“We believe in democratic principles and constitutional freedoms of expression. Banning political opponents, leaders, activists and media has been Imran Khan’s negative thinking and attitude.

“If Imran Khan wants to speak against political opponents, then let him speak. Let Imran Khan’s speech against us reach the public so that the reality of this menace becomes clear to them,” Aurangzeb said.

She added that the government had democratic thinking unlike “fascist Imran Khan”. Hours earlier, a PEMRA notice said that Imran during his long march speeches and a day ago had “made aspersions against the state institutions by levelling baseless allegations for orchestrating an assassination plan”.

In his first press conference since the assassination attempt on him in Wazirabad a couple, the former prime minister doubled down on his accusations against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior intelligence official – without giving any evidence – of hatching a plot to eliminate him, and demanded they immediately resign to ensure a fair investigation.

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