ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued show cause notice to ARY News channel over comments on a statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on Friday.

The show cause notice was served as analyst Shahid Latif during a show on ARY News termed a recent statement by the prime minister ‘blasphemous’ citing his speech which he made during a Holi celebrations event in Karachi.

Shahid Latif made the remarks during the programme, ‘The Reporters’, which aired on Thursday (March 23).

‘This is a very dangerous trend. The hosts of the programme did not intervene on this occasion nor stopped him from passing such comments, which is a violation of Pemra rules’ the authority said in a press release.

The press release added: “This has been conveyed to the TV channel that airing any offensive, provocative or derogatory remarks falls in clear violation of clause 20 (f) of PEMRA Act 2007, rule 15(1) of 2009 and various sections and clauses of the PEMRA Code of Conduct 2015.”

The regulator directed ARY News to submit its reply by March 31 and explain why action should not be taken against it for airing ‘hate speech’.

Pemra pointed out that if the channel was found guilty, the action against it could include banning of the show ‘The Reporters’, cancellation of ARY’s operating licence and a fine of Rs1 million.