The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Sunday banned broadcasts of speeches made by former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The media authority also suspended private news channel ARY News’ licence for airing one of Khan’s statements. The ban followed shortly after police failed to execute an arrest warrant at Khan’s residence in Lahore.A warrant was issued for Khan’s arrest following his failure to appear in court to face charges of “receiving prohibited funds” brought against him by the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency. However, police failed to carry out the arrest warrant Sunday, after being informed by leaders of Khan’s political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), that Khan was “not present at the residence” in Lahore.Later, Khan gave a speech in Lahore, the broadcast of which was subsequently banned by PEMRA. Khan’s speech claimed that former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was allegedly responsible for Khan’s removal as Prime Minister in April 2022. In their report, PEMRA declared Khan’s speech had breached Article 19 of the Pakistani Constitution because of his “baseless allegations, [and] hateful, slanderous and unwarranted statements against state institutions and officers”.Sunday marked PEMRA’s third ban of Khan’s speeches since he began his campaign of calling for early elections in Pakistan. Following the ban, PTI condemned PEMRA’s actions on Twitter, describing the suspension as “a great example of fascism”. They continued to condemn the “incompetent” government, stating that they are “scared of [the] elections” the PTI has been calling for.
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