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Pak media regulatory body bans live coverage of Islamabad Judicial Complex ahead of Imran Khan's hearing

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Islamabad | March 18, 2023 6:04:25 PM IST
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Saturday restricted live coverage of events outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex, where PTI chairman Imran Khan will be arriving for a court hearing in the Toshakhana case, reported Dawn.

The Pakistan media regulatory body barred television channels from the live coverage of rallies or public gatherings and said that "today, a ban has been imposed on coverage of any party, person, or organisation."

According to a statement, Pemra referred to the clashes between PTI workers and law enforcement personnel outside Imran's Zaman Park residence, saying it had "observed with concern" that satellite TV channels were "showing live footages (sic) / images of a violent mob, attacks on police and law enforcing agencies," reported Dawn.

It added that the live telecast of such footage on different satellite TV channels "created chaos and panic" among viewers and the police. "Such activism by mob not only jeopardises law and order situation but also makes public properties and lives vulnerable", it cautioned.

Pemra said airing such content would be in violation of several Supreme Court judgments.The ban comes after pitched battles between PTI supporters and law enforcement personnel spanning two days as the latter tried to execute a court-ordered arrest warrant.

Under the rules governing "Toshakhana" -- a Persian word meaning "treasure house" -- government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.

The Toshakhana is under the microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Imran Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.

In October last year, the former prime minister was barred from holding public office after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) found him guilty of unlawfully selling gifts from foreign dignitaries and heads of state.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad worth more than Rs 140 million (USD 635,000).

The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan's aides sold them in Dubai.

The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a "Master Graff limited edition" valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees (USD 385,000).

The Election Commission's order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Following the order, the election watchdog moved the Islamabad sessions court and sought criminal proceedings against him. The PTI chief has missed several hearings. (ANI)

 
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