QUETTA: Police registered a case on Monday under the Anti-Terrorist Act of 1997 against Salman Iqbal, the chief executive of ARY News, and three other employees of the organisation over the broadcast of a video showing the bombing of Ziarat Residency.
The three other employees are Executive Director Owais Tohid, Quetta bureau chief Shahid Hameed Rind and Islamabad bureau chief Sabir Shakir.
Balochistan’s provincial information department alleged in an FIR that ARY News, in its current affairs programme on Aug 13, ran “objectionable video clips” released by an outlawed outfit about the destruction of Ziarat Residency after an attack in June.
The department called for legal action against the channel.
A copy of the FIR was sent to media houses by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken notice of the video and asked Pemra to inform him about action taken against the channel.
A spokesman for the chief minister of Balochistan clarified that Dr Abdul Malik Baloch had no role in registration of the FIR.
Jan Mohammad Buledi, the spokesman, said: “The case against ARY News was registered on the Supreme Court’s orders.”
The Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) and other media networks called for withdrawal of the case. The BUJ has decided to stage a demonstration in front of the Balochistan Assembly on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists also condemned the registration of the FIR, observing that the move had refreshed memories of the Zia era.
“The PFUJ condemns these tactics and will hold country-wide protests from the PFUJ forum and also from the forum of International Federation of Journalists,” said a statement. Pervaiz Shaukat, the PFUJ president, and Amin Yusuf, the general secretary, also condemned violence by workers of a political party in Lahore against journalists.