IHC directs PEMRA to stop airing ‘circus’, ‘nelaam ghar’ during Ramzan

  • Justice Siddiqui orders to air Azan five times daily

ISLAMABAD: Ordering the airing of Azan (call to prayer) five times daily during Ramzan for all channels, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday put a halt on the airing of ‘circus’ or ‘nelaam ghar’ to be broadcast on TV during the holy month.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of IHC gave the order while hearing a case pertaining to the implementation of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) code of conduct for Ramzan transmissions and morning shows on television.

A representative of PEMRA submitted the media regulator’s guidelines to the court for Ramzan transmissions and assured that all channels would have to abide by them.

“There is no bigger breaking news for Muslims than the Azan,” Justice Siddiqui said, lamenting that channels air dance, music and advertisements at Azan timings.

PTV has also stopped airing Azan,” he said. He warned that a ban would be imposed on Ramzan transmissions if this ‘circus’ continued.

He suggested removing ‘Islamic Republic’ from Pakistan’s name if things did not change. The judge also remarked that it was the responsibility of the state to protect Islamic identity and beliefs.

Upon inquiring, he was informed that the Pakistan Broadcasters Association’s (PBA) counsel was on leave. “Let him know that no move to circumvent the rules will work this Ramzan,” he said.

He then asked for a report on how many of the 117 channels operating in Pakistan air the call to prayer before adjourning the case till Wednesday.