The already strained relations between Pakistan and India will result in all Indian TV channels being barred from Pakistan’s existing cable and planned DTH services.
Absar Alam, the chairman of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority, has announced the backers to 12 proposed Pakistani channels which are pre-qualified to enter a bidding auction on November 23rd for the country’s DTH service.
Alam told journalists at an Islamabad press conference that PEMRA would continue to pursue its actions against the “illegal” carriage of Indian TV channels, “until they are eliminated,” he said, adding that the carriage of Indian channels when the Indian army was [allegedly] violating a ceasefire agreement in the disputed Kashmir region “was out of the question”.
The short-listed would-be broadcasters are Orient Electronics Lahore, Mag Entertainment Lahore, Skyflix Islamabad and Startimes Communications Islamabad, Sardar Builders Islamabad, Smart Sky Islamabad and Parus Media and Broadcast Islamabad, Naya Tel Islamabad, Maestro Media Distribution Islamabad, Shahzad Sky Islamabad, HB DTH Islamabad, and IQ Communications Karachi.
However, the proposed ban on Indian channels has not been received well by some Pakistan cable operators. Cable Operators Association Chairman Khalid Arain asked the Pemra board to slow down the issuing of the planned DTH licences. He also argued that Pemra was giving favour to the government’s blue-eyed companies.