Pak media watchdog bans TV anchor, show for 60 days after Cabinet minister's fiasco

Kashif Abbasi, the anchor in question, with Pak PM Imran Khan (Twitter Image: @Kashifabbasiary)

A Pakistani TV anchor and his news programme was banned by Pakistan's media watchdog for 60 days on Thursday for letting a Cabinet minister display an army boot during the talk show to ridicule the Opposition.

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda appeared on Kashif Abbasi's programme 'Off the Record' on ARY News and used a military boot to heap scorn on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for voting in favour of the recently passed Army Act in Parliament.

Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N leader Javed Abbasi, who were co-participants, walked out in protest as the show host just grinned and failed to stop Vawda's antics.

Taking cognizance of the incident, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took action against the news programme and its anchor citing violation of media laws and banned Kashif Abbasi and his show Off the Record for 60 days.

Vawda in a show with Hamid Mir of Geo News on Wednesday defended his action as a “mirror to the opposition, especially PML-N, for opposing and vilifying army” but lying down to support the law.

However, the minister agreed that his action was extreme and he also showed an ignorance that it was against the laws of PEMRA.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan “disliked the boot thing” in the show.

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