KARACHI: Protests and rallies were taken out against Geo Group after the channel showed allegedly blasphemous content in its morning show ‘Utho Jago Pakistan’, hosted by Shaista Lodhi.
Protests erupted in various cities, including Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan, by activists of religious organisations who chanted slogans and flashed banners and placards inscribed with slogans against the TV channel.
According to media reports, protests in Faisalabad were held by workers of Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). In Karachi, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) held a protest demonstration at Nagan Chowrangi and the Imamia Student Organisation (ISO) at the Numaish Chowrangi.
In Karachi, the Jaffria Alliance Pakistan protested against Geo News in which large numbers of people took part. Protesters demanded that the transmission of the news channel should be shut down as it had hurt the sentiments of Muslims and a case be filed against the channel administration.
Majlis-e-Wahdatul-Muslimeen (MWM) staged protest in Islamabad against Geo News. The protestors raised placards and banners against the channel.
Protest rallies were taken out in Lahore. The participants of the rallies demanded the federal government to close the news channel.
Several protests were also reported from different parts of Peshawar as well after the Friday prayers.
Condemnations flooded in from all religious schools of thought against the private channel soon after the programme was aired. Various religious scholars described the show as ‘blasphemous’, and called for ban on Geo’s transmission. The SIC took a step ahead and issued a fatwa declaring watching Geo TV as haram. It also demanded that the government ban the Jang/Geo Group satellite channels just like it banned the YouTube.
Angry slogans were also chanted against the show’s host Dr Shaista Lodhi, who has issued a brief apology on the incident.
According to her statement, she said that “she along with the entire team feels sorry and tenders an apology for the circumstances that were triggered unintentionally due to the content of the programme broadcast yesterday.”
She said that “she seeks forgiveness from Almighty Allah over an unintended gaffe that hurt the sentiments of the people”.
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