Pak media watchdog bans TV anchor, show for 60 days after Cabinet minister's fiasco

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad, Jan 16 (PTI) A Pakistani TV anchor and his news programme was banned by Pakistan's media watchdog for 60 days on Thursday for letting a Cabinet minister to display an army boot during the talk show to ridicule the Opposition.

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda appeared on Kashif Abbasi's programme 'Off the Record' on ARY News and used a military boot to heap scorn on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for voting in favour of the recently passed Army Act in Parliament.

Following the incident, Prime Minister Imran Khan banned Vawda's appearance in any TV show for two weeks.

'Prime Minister also banned Faisal Vawda's participation in any talk show for next two weeks,' government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan tweeted, adding that the premier has also sought an explanation from the minister for his behaviour.

Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N leader Javed Abbasi, who were co-participants, walked out in protest as the show host just grinned and failed to stop Vawda's antics.

Taking cognizance of the incident, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took action against the news programme and its anchor citing violation of media laws and banned Kashif Abbasi and his show Off the Record for 60 days.

Vawda in a show with Hamid Mir of Geo New on Wednesday defended his action as a “mirror to opposition, especially the PML-N, for opposing and vilifying army” but lying down to support the law.

However, the minister agreed that his action was extreme and he also showed ignorance that it was against the laws of PEMRA.

He said Prime Minister Khan “disliked the boot thing” in the show.

TV talk shows often turn violent in Pakistan where participants in the past have slapped and used abusive languages against the opponents. PTI SH RUP CPS