Pakistan scraps ban on broadcast of ex-premier's speech

Action comes hours after country's media regulatory watchdog banned broadcast of Imran Khan's speech 2nd time in less than 3 months.

Pakistan scraps ban on broadcast of ex-premier's speech

Pakistan's government scrapped a ban on the broadcast of a speech and press conferences by former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday.

It comes hours after the country's media regulatory watchdog slapped the ban, accusing Khan of hurling "baseless" allegations against state institutions and government officials.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, in a statement, said the ban was terminated on a directive of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

However, she added, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) should ensure “continued implementation of legal requirements under Article 19 of the Constitution.”

The ban was slapped a day after Khan, who was attacked and injured during his anti-government march on the capital Islamabad on Thursday, accused the government and a senior intelligence official of being involved in his attempted assassination.

The government and the army, however, rejected Khan's allegations, calling them "baseless."

This was the second time in less than three months that PEMRA imposed a ban on Imran Khan.

In August, the authority slapped a ban on the live broadcast of his speeches on the same ground. The ban, nonetheless, was quashed after a few days by the Islamabad High Court.

Khan was shot and injured while leading a "long march" on Islamabad in the Wazirabad district of northeastern Punjab province on Thursday.

At least one person was killed and over a dozen others, including two lawmakers, were injured in the attack, which sparked widespread protests and condemnations from across the globe.

Khan accused Prime Minister Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and a senior intelligence official, Maj. Gen. Faisal, of being involved in the botched attempt, and demanded their resignations.

Khan kicked off the "long march" on Oct. 28 in an attempt to press the government for snap elections.

He was deposed as prime minister in April after a no-confidence motion was passed in parliament.

He blames his unceremonious ouster on a US-backed conspiracy, an allegation that Islamabad and Washington have repeatedly refuted.

Khan, who became the country's 19th prime minister in August 2018, ruled for just over three and a half years.

Hüseyin Demir

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