PEMRA’s verdict over Baji Irshad petition is ‘heavily biased’ says PMTA

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Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Alliance (PMTA) Chief Professor Anjum James Paul has termed PEMRA’s decision regarding petition against drama serial Baji Irshad; as “biased.” Professor Anjum Paul had moved Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), seeking a ban on airing of the said drama serial as he maintained that the TV show was hurting the religious sentiments of Christians in Pakistan. Baji Irshad is aired on Express TV channel.

Drama serial Baji Irshad

In line with a recent notification received by Professor Anjum Paul, PEMRA had declined to impose a ban on airing of Baji Irshad, Whereas Express TV Channel was directed to show a disclaimer before the show offering an apology to anyone for hurting the religious sentiments.

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In the official notification, PEMRA had mentioned: “The complainant stated that Express TV Channel is hurting the religious sentiments of Christians as there is desecration of religious practices of Christianity and Christians violating article 20, article 25 and article 36 of the Constitution of Pakistan, June 19, 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding protection of minorities, National Action Plan 2014 and Section 153 A, Section 295 and Section 295 A of Pakistan Penal Code in the drama serial Baji Irshad. This is a deliberate conspiracy to let down Christianity and Christians.”

Professor Anjum James Paul had requested that a Sou Moto notice should be taken followed by stern action against all such elements that hurt the religious sentiments of any religion or follower of that particular religion on the electronic media, print media, social media and textbooks.

In this regard, the petition was placed before the Council of Complaints in its 70th meeting held on April 3, 2017. Complainant Professor Anjum James Paul appeared before the Council, while Mr. Saqib Noor Ahmad appeared before the Council on behalf of Express TV channel. During the hearing, a video clip of the drama serial Baji Irshad was aired, while the complainant maintained that the drama serial was hurting the religious sentiments of Christians.

On the other hand, representative of Express TV channel stated that the allegations were baseless and false maintain that the Christian community was targeted in the said drama serial. The Council after hearing both of them issued direction to the Express TV Channel to air a disclaimer before the program started. The channel is to “show an apology that if anyone is hurt due to this program then channel apologizes on its behalf,” PEMRA notification states.

Remaking in this regard, Professor Anjum James Paul stated: “I have just received decision of PEMRA. PMTA rejects the decision. PMTA demanded to ban the drama but PEMRA is biased against religious minorities and particularly against Christians which is obvious from the discriminatory and biased decision.”

“We shall now approach the Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan and Army Chief to seek justice and PEMRA Chairman approached Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan and Army Chief,” he told Christians in Pakistan.

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