The Pakistan National Heart Association (Panah) has urged the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to stop covering former federal minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as he smokes cigars at press conferences, which can have an impact on the next generation.
It has also asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to issue a broad directive telling media outlets not to feature anyone who encourages smoking.
According to the letter signed by Sanaullah Ghumman, general secretary of Panah, the organisation has been trying to reduce cardiovascular disorders since 1984.
The letter stated, "This association had also put in its good share in helping people who suffered in the natural disasters that struck the nation in the past and are also helping poor patients get expensive cardiac investigations, angioplasty, stents and cardiac surgery at various hospitals. The president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by virtue of his position is our patron-in-chief. Panah works closely with policymakers to advocate for policies to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and many other fatal diseases."
The letter added that Panah has been running an aggressive campaign against tobacco use in the country as a part of the Heart Disease Prevention programme because tobacco is one of the leading causes of heart and many other fatal diseases.
The letter also read, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a renowned politician of Pakistan always waves his cigar and its pack during his media talks while saying: "I have been the federal minister of Pakistan several times."
In Pakistan, as many as 1,200 new children turn smokers every day, the letter stated.
According to Dawn, Ghumman asserted that it was against Pakistani tobacco control rules to depict smokers in the media and that media outlets could face legal repercussions for doing so.
He said, "We also request the media that they should show responsibility and not give coverage to people while smoking as it gives a wrong impression to the young generation," reported Dawn. (ANI)