Conflicts & War

Pakistan retracts broadcast ban on former P.M. Imran Khan

Islamabad, Nov 5 (EFE).- Hours after Pakistan’s media regulator barred television stations from airing the press conferences of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government of Shehbaz Sharif ordered the ban reversed.

Sharif instructed the Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to adhere to Article 19 of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said.

In its initial statement, Pemra said it was prohibiting the broadcast of Khan’s remarks because he “made aspersions against the state institutions by leveling baseless allegations for orchestrating an assassination plan.”

Pemra was referring to the former premier’s comments during a press conference Friday from the Lahore hospital where he was being treated for wounds received in a shooting the previous day.

Sitting in a wheelchair, Khan accused Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and army intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Faisal Naseer of being behind the attack that left one person dead and nine wounded.

Sharif spoke out Saturday to deny the allegation and he called on Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to convene a “full court commission” to investigate the shooting.

The incident took place Thursday in Wazirabad as Khan and thousands of members of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party continued their “long march” to Islamabad for “haqeeqi azaadi” (real freedom).

Khan, 70, was removed as prime minister in April by parliament in a no-confidence vote engineered by Sharif’s PPP.

The captain of the Pakistani national team that won the World Cricket Cup in 1992 is demanding that Sharif step down in favor of holding early elections to determine who will govern the country.

Khan and his supporters set out from Lahore eight days ago and while the march remains on hold pending the PTI chairman’s recovery, Saturday witnessed anti-Sharif protests in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city.

Though Khan was the first Pakistani prime minister to be removed through the mechanism of parliamentary censure, no premier in the country’s 75-year-long history has served a full term in office.

EFE aa-mvg/dr

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