Pakistan revokes permit for TV over alleged anti-army remark

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KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistani authorities on Friday revoked the broadcasting license of a private television station after it aired following an interview in which an opposition party official was accused of inciting the military. and officers against the military leadership.

The development comes after ARY TV in the southern port city of Karachi aired an interview with Shahbaz Gill, a close aide to former Prime Minister Imran Khan and chief of staff for the opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf party. your.

In the interview, Gill called on the Pakistani army and officers to refuse to obey “illegal orders” from the military – remarks deemed by the authorities to incite an insurgency. He was later arrested for treason and could face the death penalty.

The broadcaster’s news director, Ammad Yousaf, was detained following the interview but later released on Thursday, following outcry from the media watchdog, rights defenders and leading opposition leaders.

ARY shied away from Gill’s remarks, emphasizing that it was not part of any campaign against the military. However, Pakistan’s media regulator has scrapped the broadcaster and on Friday suspended its license amid what it described as “adverse reports from the authorities”.

The move drew condemnation from journalists and opposition leaders. The founder of ARY, Salman Iqbal, also denounced the suspension.

Asad Kaleem, an executive producer at ARY, told the Associated Press that the move means 4,000 employees at TV are currently out of work. He has begged the government to reverse his decision and get the hugely popular ARY back on the air.

Khan came to power in 2018, promising to break the nepotism pattern in Pakistan, but his opponents say he was elected with help from the powerful military, having ruled the country for half. 75 years history.

After being overturned in a vote of no confidence in Parliament in April, Khan blamed General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army general, alleging that the general was involved in an alleged plot by The United States aimed to overthrow him. Washington, the Pakistani military and the government have denied the allegation.

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