SC disposes of Geo’s plea over transmission’s suspension

* Seeks report from IB DG over display of objectionable banners against judiciary

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday disposed of Geo Network’s petition against PEMRA, ruling that a decision given in 2012 be implemented and a reply be filed by the interior secretary and the Intelligence Bureau DG within 24 hours over the display of banners against a judge in the federal capital.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja ruled, “The country can be driven into a dangerous situation in the future if banners and posters are displayed by penetrating into the Red Zone in Islamabad. A judge can recuse from the hearing of a case only if the party to the case is not only close relative of judge but also has close relations with him. I have no relations with Mir Shakilur Rehman therefore, I can hear the case.”
A two-member bench of the top court headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja resumed the hearing of the case on Monday. Advocate Ibrahim Satti appeared before the court on behalf of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and submitted that the regulatory body has taken notice of suspension of Geo’s transmission, and the authority would take action against those cable operators who removed the channel from their networks. 
He requested the apex court to make PEMRA ensure the implementation of 2012 judgement by the top court in this regard. According to that decision the cable operators have no authority to block the transmission of any TV channel till licence of the channel has been suspended or cancelled by the regulatory authority. After PEMRA’s assurance about the implementation of the court’s decision the court disposed of the petition filed by Geo network. 
Meanwhile, the court adjourned till May 28 the hearing of the case pertaining to placement of objectionable banners against the judiciary in the federal capital. A two-member bench of the top court comprising Justice Jawwad Khawaja and Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that “today objectionable posters were placed” against judiciary in the capital and “tomorrow they can enter the Red Zone and harm anyone”.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that banners against the judiciary were placed in the federal capital but the interior secretary was “unaware” about it. He asked Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, who appeared before the apex court in this case, if he is unaware of the matter then who is responsible for placing these objectionable banners in the federal capital. The apex court summoned a report from the IB DG and interior secretary over the matter on May 28.

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