There are no terrorists in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden was never living in Abbottabad, and the American raid did not happen. PNS Mehran neither. This must be the case. Why else would the Supreme Court be spending time, money, and energy to issue orders regarding broadcast licenses?
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry today ordered Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to issue a broadcasting licence to Geo Super immediately and submit the compliance report in three days, Geo News reported.
As the bloggers at Cafe Pyala pointed out two months ago, Geo Super has a broadcast license and an open uplink.
Now let me share with you what has actually happened, which Geo will never tell you and which PEMRA is too idiotic to explain properly. Basically, in contravention of its status as a foreign channel with landing rights in Pakistan, Geo Super had been secretively uplinking from Pakistan. Under the law, Geo Super could only regularly uplink to satellite from abroad (Dubai or wherever it chose). When this uplink facility violation was discovered, PEMRA basically shut that operation down. This does not mean that Geo Super cannot broadcast its programmes by uplinking from abroad, as it was supposed to be doing in the first place. PEMRA has pointed out in its ad yesterday that Geo Super still has landing rights and is free to distribute its programmes via cable. In effect, therefore it is Geo Super that has shut itself off.
This is also why Geo Super had scrambled to apply for a “temporary uplinking license” from PEMRA on April 4, a facility that is allowed under the rules for specific events such as a major sporting competition taking place within the country. PEMRA, in perfectly legally defensible fashion, asked Geo Super to specify the event it wanted to cover. Since Geo Super could not name any, PEMRA was within its rights to refuse, which they apparently have still not technically done. The Jang Group’s claims of unfair victimization, at least on the basis of this alleged refusal, are merely attempts at a smokescreen.
So Geo Super shuts itself off in order to create a PR campaign for forcing the government to give it a domestic uplink, and the Supreme Court has nothing better to do than get involved in this bogus affair? The fact that the Chief Justice was a member of the panel is all the more embarrassing for the court.
It’s a good thing that there are no serious problems in Pakistan. Otherwise someone might think the Supreme Court is being derelict in its duty by taking such miserably trivial cases.