Islamabad demands shutdown of renowned TV channel

Updated 23 April 2014
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Islamabad demands shutdown of renowned TV channel

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Defense Ministry has demanded that a prominent news channel be suspended after it reported that the country’s powerful spy agency was behind the shooting of one of Pakistan’s most famous journalists, a media regulator said on Wednesday.
Hamid Mir, a veteran talk-show presenter at privately owned Geo News, survived the attack after unidentified gunmen shot him multiple times in the port city of Karachi on Saturday.
Geo has since repeatedly accused the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of being behind the shooting. The military has denied the accusation.
On Wednesday, Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog said it had received a complaint from the Defense Ministry demanding the channel’s license be suspended.
“Of course we are aware of the gravity of this issue and so the complaint is being dealt with at the highest level,” said Fakhruddin Mughal, a spokesman for the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
“Rest assured, we are a neutral regulator and no matter who the complaint is from and who it is against, we will deal with the matter only as per the law and not under pressure from any organization or individual.”
The shooting of a journalist anchoring Pakistan’s top political news talk show has sent a chill through the journalistic community weeks after television anchor Raza Rumi was attacked in the city of Lahore. Rumi survived but his driver was shot dead.
Although Pakistani media have become increasingly vibrant in recent years, with stories exposing corruption or injustices appearing frequently on the pages of the country’s many dailies, public criticism of the army or the ISI is largely a taboo.
No one has claimed responsibility for the recent assaults, although the Taleban, holed up in mountains on the Afghan border, have made repeated threats against domestic and foreign reporters for portraying the insurgency in a negative light.
Geo’s Islamabad editor, Rana Jawad, told Reuters that the media sector would not be easily silenced.
“Obviously the army and the ISI are disturbed about why we repeated suspicions by the journalist who was shot and his family, and now that has led to this attempt to invoke the law and get us off air,” Jawad said.
“But this is not Musharraf’s era, it won’t be that easy to muzzle the media,” he said, referring to Pakistan’s former military dictator, Pervez Musharraf.


India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 22 September 2019

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.