Pakistan bans top TV preacher over hate speech

Aamir Liaquat Hussain
Updated 26 January 2017

Pakistan bans top TV preacher over hate speech

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s media watchdog Thursday accused a prominent television preacher of hate speech and banned his hugely popular show, silencing the high-profile host after years of controversy.
Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a charismatic star criticized in 2013 for giving out babies to childless couples live on prime-time television, had been accused of inciting hate against supporters of five progressive activists who disappeared earlier this month.
He was told his program on Bol News had been ended “with immediate effect” and prohibited from appearing on the channel “in any manner” even in old footage, with Bol warned it would lose its license if it did not comply.
Hussain was also prohibited from delivering “any hate speech” or branding anyone an infidel or a traitor on any other channel, according to the statement from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
It said the decision came after Hussain had been monitored for several weeks, and that it had received “hundreds” of complaints about his repeated violations.
Rights activist Jibran Nasir, who has spearheaded some of the demonstrations over the missing bloggers and is among those maligned by Hussain, tweeted that a police complaint had also been made.
“Pemra did its job & we should be glad about it but our real job is still left. We can rejoice when the missing come back home. Back to work!” he wrote.
The five bloggers were reported missing from various cities in Pakistan early this month, raising fears of a crackdown.
Human Rights Watch said their near simultaneous disappearances raised concerns of government involvement, which officials and intelligence sources have denied.
A virulent social media campaign painting the missing as blasphemers has triggered a flood of threats despite denials from their worried families.
The charge, which carries the death penalty, is hugely sensitive in deeply conservative Pakistan, where even unproven allegations have stirred mob lynchings and murder. Hussain, a former lawmaker, is no stranger to controversy.
Under military ruler Pervez Musharraf, he was forced to resign as junior religious affairs minister because of his views on the controversial blasphemy laws.
In 2013, he was unrepentant about the storm over his Ramadan show, which saw him give babies away to childless couples, denying the move was a ratings stunt. “People love me, that is why they watch me. Through television we spread the message of tolerance,” he told AFP at the time.


Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

Updated 13 December 2019

Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

  • Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement
  • Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain

PARIS: The EU will have to rebuild its ties with London after Boris Johnson’s election victory which is likely to lead to Brexit in January, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner said on Friday.
“We now have to rebuild relations with Great Britain which is an important partner,” Thierry Breton told French RTL radio, saying the bloc wanted “balanced” trade relations with the UK.
With almost all results declared for the 650-seat British parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured a sweeping victory and he is now expected to deliver on his promise to “Get Brexit Done.”
His majority should allow him to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.
Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.
Breton said he expected the European Council meeting Friday in Brussels to give the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier a new mandate for talks with London.
He said Britain was a very important trade partner for the EU, “but we are by far the biggest trading partner for Britain.”
Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain.