Pemra on Thursday banned ARY News programme Live with Dr Shahid Masood for 45 days for casting aspersions on Chief Justice Sindh High Court.

According to a statement on Pemra’s Twitter account, Dr Shahid Masood had, on his show on June 22, accused the Sindh High Court Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah of taking a bribe. “In his programme, he also alluded that the son of the Chief Justice had been kidnapped because the Chief Justice did not fulfill his promise after receiving money,” the statement released on Twitter said.

The electronic media watchdog had issued a show cause notice on July 19 giving the channel seven days time to respond. However, the regulatory body says the reply received on July 23 was unprofessional and that no apology had been tendered.

The case was then referred to an independent body, Council of Complaints, and the channel was asked to explain its position on August 4. However, they were unable to satisfy the council. The channel has the right to appeal the decision, which will be enforced starting August 15, to the High Court or Supreme Court.

In a statement on its website, ARY counsel in the case, Advocate Moinuddin, said it looked as if Pemra’s decision was taken in haste and “it may have some malafide intent’. The advocate also expressed surprise that the order issued by Pemra did not contain signatures of the authority rather it was endorsed by the council of complaint.

“What anyone could do if the government misconstrued his statement in the program,” Dr Shahid Masood said in a statement on the website. He added that he would appeal to the court against the decision.

Earlier, Pemra had banned Geo Entertainment anchor Amir Liaquat Hussain’s show ‘Inam Ghar’ for three days for broadcasting disturbing scenes and controversial content during the Ramazan transmission on the private TV.

However, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had nullified Pemra’s notification. With the media regulator’s decision voided by the court, the programme went on air as usual.

“Sindh High Court’s honourable Justice Shah Nawaz Tariq has suspended Pemra’s decision,” a statement posted on Pemra’s Twitter account read.