Interpreting The Pakistani Media Regulator’s Ban On Imran Khan’s Live Broadcasts

Interpreting The Pakistani Media Regulator’s Ban On Imran Khan’s Live Broadcasts

By Andrew Korybko

All that the latest development will do is exacerbate the growing generational divide within the country, turn more people against the “official narrative”, and further worsen the socio-political (soft security) situation. Considering this, there’s no doubt that the destabilization of Pakistan is being driven by those same political forces tasked with protecting it, not their opponents.


The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) decreed on Saturday that former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speeches can no longer be broadcast live on satellite TV channels throughout the country. The supposed basis behind this dramatic decision is that he “is continuously alleging state institutions by leveling baseless allegations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility.”

This move was made immediately after the country’s former leader, who was deposed by a US-orchestrated but domestically driven post-modern coup in early April as punishment for his independent foreign policy (particularly its Eurasian dimensions), announced that he’d be filing court cases against the IG and DIG of the Islamabad Police as well as Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Zeba Chaudhry for what he claimed was their complicity in the alleged torture of his close associate Shahbaz Gill.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed in response that this supposedly constituted a “threat” against state officials even though it was simply the public declaration of an intended court case that hasn’t yet been ruled upon. Most societies in the world, especially those that insist on being “democratic” like Pakistan’s post-modern coup authorities have argued that theirs has since become after allegedly defeating the so-called “fascism” that they accused the former premier of promoting, would never interpret such a declaration as a “threat” against anyone.

The very fact that Sanaullah’s claims resonated with PEMRA and in turn inspired them to decree that “the recorded speeches of the former PM would only be permitted to be aired after effective delay mechanism is put in place in order to ensure effective monitoring and editorial control in conformity with Pemra laws” contradicts his government’s own narrative about contemporary Pakistani society. In truth, this development actually extends credence to the one connected with former Prime Minister Khan and his supporters, who insist that their society has become fascist after the regime change.

Another point to be made is that the imported government, as the ousted leader and his supporters have taken to calling it, is more desperate than ever to stop the only truly national party in the country. PTI’s landslide victory in last month’s Punjab by-elections on the ruling PMLN’s own home turf proved that “The Power Of The Pakistani People Will Defeat Their Unpopular Imported Government”, which in turn prompted the authorities to censor ARY News and then arrest Gill on similar national security pretexts in a desperate bid to intimidate the population into accepting their subservience to the US.

Furthermore, the decision to no longer allow the live broadcast on satellite TV channels of former Prime Minister Khan’s speeches also confirms the generational divide between the post-modern coup authorities and the people in whose name they unpopularly rule. This South Asian state is mostly comprised of young people nowadays who get most of their information through online sources so it’s possible that some of them could simply livestream their former leader’s speeches through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in order to get around this latest decree.

It’s clear that the post-modern coup authorities are so scared of the PTI chief that they’ve taken to twisting his public intent to file a court case against some of them as a supposed national security threat, which corresponds to the same basis upon which they censored ARY News and arrested Gill. The newfound focus on national security to justify their crackdown against PTI and those who sympathize with its narrative of events that challenges the “official” one also adds credence to claims that Pakistan is presently in a state of post-modern martial law.

The innuendo is that the former Prime Minister, his party, and those who support them all constitute grave national security threats that must be proactively thwarted by the post-modern coup authorities who are relying on the security forces to impose their self-interested political will upon the population. To be absolutely clear, those same forces and the structures that they represent are simply following the constitutional chain of command in carrying out their orders. The problem isn’t with them, but their elite echelons who are going along with this anti-democratic and fascist crackdown on society.

The tragic irony is that those victims of this witch hunt are extremely passionate about their patriotism, would never by any stretch of the imagination ever countenance carrying out any genuinely anti-state activity, and sincerely want to comprehensively improve everything about their beloved country after being convinced that it’s been pushed down a dangerous path by shadowy forces over the past four months. Neither Prime Minister Khan, PTI, their supporters, nor those who simply don’t ascribe to the “official narrative” of events since then objectively constitute bonafide national security threats.

The exploitation of national security pretexts for justifying the increasingly intensifying post-modern martial law in Pakistan speaks to how desperate those who carried out the post-modern coup have become in recent weeks. All that the latest development will do is exacerbate the growing generational divide within the country, turn more people against the “official narrative”, and further worsen the socio-political (soft security) situation. Considering this, there’s no doubt that the destabilization of Pakistan is being driven by those same political forces tasked with protecting it, not their opponents.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.


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Categories: Analysis, Current Affairs, Pakistan

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