News Desk |
News analyst colonel (r) Inam-ur-Rahim while commenting on Inter-Services Public Relations’ recent letter to PEMRA pertaining to the issue of inviting defense analysts to news channels, maintained that army is a subordinate department of defense ministry, constitutionally; it cannot issue notices and letters to the attached departments of different ministries like PEMRA.
“Army is working under the defense secretary and it can issue notices through defense secretary”, says the analyst. He made these statements while talking to the prominent anchorperson of GNN Dr. Moeed Pirzada in his prime time show “Live with Moeed Pirzada.”
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has asked all news channels inviting retired army officers in current affairs talk shows as ‘defence analysts’ to either seek clearance from Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army’s media wing or call them only ‘analysts’. In a ‘confidential’ letter to all TV channels dated April 4, the media watchdog said, “Retired military officers may only be invited as a defense analyst for discussion on military matters with prior clearance from ISPR.”
The anchorperson Dr. Moeed Pirzada noted that General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement about defense analysts makes sense and is a rational approach, which creates a balance between freedom of speech and expression.
When asked about PEMRA’s notification to news channels Mr. Inam told that PEMRA ordinance does not have any such provisions to take permission from ISPR when a retired Army officer is going to analyze an issue on a TV News Channel. “A retired Army officer is a citizen of Pakistan, after two years of his retirement he can participate in politics,” says Mr. Inam Ur Rahim.
General (r) Amjad Shuaib, another discussant of the program while talking about the foreign minister’s statement on Indian expected aggression maintained that ‘India can play a second drama like Pulwama attack to divert the attention of the people of India from their domestic issues’.
He continued that the efforts of ISPR and its letter to PEMRA is a measure of quality control, through this measure ISPR may want to improve the quality of defense analysis. “Through this process, ISPR may want to allow only well-experienced and trained retired army personnel to comment on defense-related issues in the country,” said Amjad Shuaib.
While commenting on ISPR’s confidential letter to PEMRA, Amjad Shuaib asserted, “What I am saying about a particular issue in a debate does not reflect the policies of GHQ [General Head Quarters of Pakistan Army],” referring to General Javed Bajwa’s statement in Senate briefing which clarify that any defense analyst commenting on political situation does not represent the GHQ’s viewpoint rather it is his/her own personal observation and should not be considered as official statement from Pakistan Army.”
The anchorperson Dr. Moeed Pirzada noted that General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement about defense analysts makes sense and is a rational approach, which creates a balance between freedom of speech and expression. However, Dr. Pirzada raised a logical question that if ISPR’s approval is deemed necessary for defense analysts, then, will ISPR be responsible for their statements? Because indirectly ISPR bounds itself with personnel, to whom the permission be granted.