The Lahore High Court chief justice has allowed private television channels, having valid licences, to show Indian movies as per terms of their agreements with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah granted the permission in the light of Pemra’s report that states that television channels were allowed to air Indian films as per clause 7.2 (ii) of Licence to Establish and Operate Satellite TV Broadcast Channel Station.
The chief justice issued a written order of a last week hearing on a petition of M/s Leo Communication and others challenging the ban on the broadcast of Indian content on the televisions.
The authority’s counsel had contended that the permission would be subject to terms and conditions of the licence under the Pemra Ordinance, 2002.
The counsel for the petitioners had argued the channels should also be allowed to broadcast Indian plays as they also fell within the definition of “entertainment” under the licence agreement.
However, the Pemra’s counsel contested the argument and sought time to establish that the “entertainment” did not include Indian plays. He said the channels were allowed to run Indian films as per terms of their licence agreements.
The chief justice would resume further hearing on March 2.
M/S Leo Communication had filed the petition assailing a circular issued by Pemra on Oct 19, 2016, for being ultra vires of the authority’s rules and the Constitution.
The petitioner-company in 2010 was granted a 15-year licence by Pemra to operate a cable channel, “Filmazia”.
It said the government was indulging in “selective patriotism” as Indian movies had been allowed to be screened all over the country but not on television.
Originally published in Dawn February 14th, 2017