The state sponsored persecution on Ahmadis in Pakistan continues after PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority), a state-owned institution regulating the establishment and operation of all private broadcast media and distribution services in Pakistan, has banned a show hosted by Hamza Ali Abbasi for speaking in favor of a frequently persecuted Ahmadiyya community.
The action by PEMRA came a day after the host, television actor Hamza Ali Abbasi, urged local media not to ignore persecution or killings of members of the Ahmadi community. He made the comments during his special show ‘Ramazan Hamara Iman’ on Aaj News. Abbasi has raised question regarding the state sponsored Ahmadiyya Persecution and asked his panel of experts during his live show. He asked:
“Can an Islamic state declare a group Muslim or non-Muslim? Why is it so that when you speak in favor of a suppressed community like Ahmadis, you are also condemned and branded as being part of it?”
Pakistan declared the minority Ahmadi community non-Muslim in 1974 under pressure from Islamist groups. The legislation bans Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslim and practicing the rituals of Islam.
It is worth mentioning here that there are 129 complaints to date, that were logged on PEMRA’s official website regarding AAJ news and Hamza Ali Abbasi’s programme specifically mentioning that the programme should be banned as Hamza speaked in favor of Ahmadis. Some of the complaints are even worse and they showed that some of the people oppressed PEMRA and they challenged the state-owned institution that if they’ll not ban this programme they can do the same as Mumtaz Qadri did.
The complaint #80592 stated that:
Hamza Ali Abbasi is debating on blasphemy law. It’s out of our control. We want govt to take action otherwise someone will become Mumtaz Qadri shaheed. Shut down Aaj tv
Instead of taking action against this complaint filer that challenged and threatened the Government of Pakistan, The PEMRA issued notice to Aaj TV and order a ban on Hamza Ali Abbasi. The PEMRA notification adds if hosts, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Shabbir Abu Talib and religious preacher Maulana Kokab Noorani appeared on any other channel and discussed this particular issue or any other such topic, that programme would also be banned.
پیمرا نے حمزہ علی عباسی، شبیر ابو طالب اور کوکب نورانی کو متنازعہ بات کرنے سے روک دیا pic.twitter.com/Zh8pff1JdR
— Report PEMRA (@reportpemra) June 17, 2016
PEMRA said it took action after receiving only 1,133 grievances in four days. But PEMRA didn’t took notice of thousands of people who supported that programme and wanted Hamza to speak about the persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Thousands of people supported the thought to discuss the state sponsored Ahmadiyya persecution on social media including many top-notch national and international journalists.
— Rumi (@R00mi1) June 17, 2016
ONLY Allah has the right to decide who is a Muslim or not.
NO state and NO clergy has the right to do so.
And w/ Hamza Ali Abbasi
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) June 17, 2016
This is the moment to support Hamza Ali Abbasi, who’s in trouble just because he asked for basic rights of Ahmadis. https://t.co/VRV27thWyY
— Basharat بشارت (@BashaNazir) June 14, 2016
Hamza Ali Abbasi proud of you.
— Sara Taseer (@sarataseer) June 14, 2016
Dear @iamhamzaabbasi, Hamza Ali Abbasi is trending on Twitter. Most comments positive. I hope this encourages/motivates you more. Kudos!
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) June 12, 2016
How will we rid Pakistan of religious intolerance, raise awareness of oppressed communities / human rights when we silence the voice?#PEMRA
— Soraya Aziz (@SorayaAziz) June 17, 2016
A genuine question on preserving the sanctity of human life raised by #HamzaAliAbbasi has triggered incitement of his death by mullahs.
— Ilmana (@ZEEMANA) June 18, 2016
Pakistan’s media agency PEMRA bans ppl who ask why Ahmadi Muslims are being murdered, but Not ppl who demand murder of Ahmadi Muslims. #smh
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) June 18, 2016
None of the anchors who incited hate including the killing of Salmaan Taseer were banned, but Hamza today has been banned by PEMRA
— Anthony Permal (@anthonypermal) June 17, 2016
— Maryam Rizvi (@Mariiam_Rizvi) June 17, 2016
Can someone call up PEMRA and tell them the difference between freedom of speech and hate speech which incites… https://t.co/oVElfBuj02
— Shamila Ghyas Ahmad (@ShamilaGhyas) June 17, 2016
Banning an anchor that expressed his views on the persecution of a minority group in country is clearly against the article 19-19(A). The article reads that:
Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, [commission of] or incitement to an offence.
Article 19(A)— Right to information: Every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law.
Down below you can checkout all the Complaints that were filed on PEMRA’s official website regarding AAJ news.