Govt re-runs controversial ad despite ‘retraction’ | Pakistan Today

Govt re-runs controversial ad despite ‘retraction’

  • Fawad Chaudhry’s earlier claims of ‘launching inquiry’ fall flat

ISLAMABAD: A controversial advertisement that Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed had been taken off air for labeling the speeches of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen and sitting MNAs from Waziristan, Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, as ‘sectarian hate speech’ is still running on Pakistan Television (PTV).

Even though the government had claimed that the ad had somehow slipped through and had apparently been swift to retract it, it is still being shown on state-run PTV.

The half-minute video ad by the Punjab government’s Home Department urged people to report to helpline 15 about hate speech, display of arms, illegal use of loudspeakers, sectarianism and any other suspicious activity during the holy month of Muharram. The ad carried photos of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leaders.

Earlier, after concerns were raised and MNA Mohsin Dawar demanded an inquiry into the ad saying there was a racial element to it, Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that an inquiry would be conducted to lay bare facts behind controversial video advertisement of the Punjab government.

He had also said that the advertisement was directed to be pulled off by TV broadcasters on Saturday after it courted allegations of racial profiling.

“This advertisement was immediately taken off as soon it was brought to our attention, it was aired hardly a few times before channels were directed not to air such advertisement,” Chaudhry tweeted, urging the people not to circulate the “rejected version”.

However, it has now been observed that the advertisement is still being run deliberately on a private television channel, but PTV.

INQUIRY:

While the government had not just retracted the advertisement but also agreed to an inquiry as per Mohsin Dawar’s demands, it is not clear why the state’s own television channel would still be running the advertisement so publicly called a ‘rejected version’ by the government.

Before this most recent development, there had been much back patting withing the PTI ranks over the retraction, with Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari commending her fellow cabinet member for acting swiftly to take off the video.

“You acted with speed Fawad which was good and I am sure you will also identify and hold accountable those who put the ad out in the first place as this was a deliberate attempt at creating mischief!” Mazari tweeted.

Chaudhry thanked the minister for her comments and promised that he would share the inquiry’s report.

“Thank you Madam Minister I will share inquiry report,” Chaudhry wrote on Twitter.



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