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Operating licence of Pak’s ARY News revoked, paves way for permanent closure

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In an unprecedented move, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) revoked the operating licence of ARY News after the security clearance of the channel was withdrawn by the Ministry of Interior, paving the way for its permanent closure.

In a notification, the Ministry said: “The NOC issued in favour of M/S ARY Communications Pvt Limited (ARY News) is cancelled with immediate effect and until further orders on the basis of adverse reports from agencies.”

The decision by Pemra was taken during its 172nd meeting which was chaired by re-appointed chief Saleem Baig, reports Dawn news.

Sources in the regulatory authority said Baig chaired the meeting in the presence of three other members, while four members, including the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and the interior secretary joined the meeting via video link.

After detailed information and background regarding the renewal of the operating licence, the working paper of the meeting said: “Ministry of Interior vide letter dated 10.11.2021 had initially granted NOC/ security clearance for renewal of satellite TV licences of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. However, the Ministry has withdrawn the NOC in respect of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. (ARY News) vide letter dated 11.8.2022.

“Foregoing in view and based on the fact that the mandatory requirement of security clearance has not been fulfilled since NOC has been withdrawn by Ministry of Interior, the request of M/s ARY Communication Ltd. for renewal of licence for another term of 15 years may be regretted by the authority.”

The decision to shut down the news channel was met with disapproval across the board, Dawn news reported.

The ARY management condemned the ban, saying the network was being victimised by the federal government.

This move is akin to the “economic murder of more than 4,000 media workers associated with the news channel”, it said, adding that the Ministry’s notification will be taken to the courts as it was done without any due notice.

Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) President Azhar Abbas condemned it as an “excessive measure” and said such moves have never worked. He urged the government to immediately withdraw the decision, Dawn reported.

PPP leader and former senator Farhatullah Babar tweeted that the use of state power “arbitrarily will backfire”.

“There may be 101 good reasons but question as to who is competent to cancel, how & whether due process followed must be answered… Effects of (the) law of diminishing returns already becoming apparent,” he tweeted.

International News

West uses human rights as ‘tool’ to pressure others: Iran

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani has criticized Western countries for what he called their use of human rights as a “tool” to exert pressure on other countries.

“When human rights are turned into a plaything and a tool to apply political pressure on others, the media empire of the hegemonic system also helps to replace the accused with the plaintiff in the case of systematic human rights violations,” Kanaani wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday.

The spokesman’s comments followed Western media’s reports about recent protests in Iran, which were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Iranian girl Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Following the recent protests in the country, the Canadian government has slapped sanctions on Iranian institutions and individuals for alleged “rights violations,” Xinhua news agency reported.

Kanaani referred to the reports of the separation of thousands of indigenous children from their families in the past decades in Canada and the discovery of children’s mass graves in Canada’s residential schools, saying that the people of the world have not forgotten “the sad saga”.

“Blurting out words about other countries and hiding behind accusations against others will not change the fact that behind the window of human rights in one of the American government’s closest allies, child-killing and disregard for humanity is showing off,” he added.

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International News

At the request of Qatar, Turkey will send army for World Cup security

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Turkey’s parliament has approved a proposal to send troops to Qatar to provide security support during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “At Qatar’s request, a proposal was tabled in parliament on Saturday to deploy troops for six months to provide security during the football tournament in November,” parliament said in a statement on Wednesday.

The objective of the operation is to take necessary measures against various threats, especially terrorism, which may affect security. According to Turkish media reports, apart from Turkey, USA, France, UK, Italy and Pakistan will also provide security support during the World Cup in Qatar.

Qatar is facing a shortage of security personnel for the month-long FIFA soccer tournament, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Business

Rupee slips down against dollar on oil price increase

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Rising international oil prices saw the Indian rupee depreciating to Rs 81.94 against the US dollar.

The rupee opened at Rs 81.52 on Thursday at the interbank forex market and then went down to Rs 81.94.

Experts said demand for dollars from oil importers resulted in a fall in rupee.

The oil prices are expected to climb up as the producing nations have announced their plans to cut production.

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