ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has directed the Secretary Senate to write a letter to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for taking action against senior journalist Saleem Bukhari under the law, who had committed contempt of Parliament.
Giving his ruling after debate by the lawmakers in Senate on Thursday about the uncalled for remarks by the journalist, the Chairman also directed the government to follow up the matter with PEMRA under intimation to this House.
The Chairman said that Senator Shahi Syed on a point of order raised the question of a TV programme aired live on October 27, 2015 wherein Saleem Bukhari had used abusive language against not an individual but against the whole institution of Parliament.
It is correct that Article 19 of the Constitution 1973 provides for freedom of speech, but it is also provided in the said Article, “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law,” he said.
He said that Article 19 guarantees the right of freedom of expression to a citizen of Pakistan but it does not grant him a license for the use of abusive language.
Rabbani said that it was a very severe question where the Parliament without any cause or provocation as an institution has been abused, slandered and brought into disrepute, stricto senso it constitutes a severe breach of the privilege of Parliament.
The Parliament would be well within its constitutional and legal right to proceed against such person or individual in the manner provided for under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012.
Rabbani said, “Parliament being the custodian of the rights of the people of Pakistan and the institutions functioning through or under the Constitution and other institutions such as the media, would expect that the media itself would check in future that such incidents are not repeated and that individuals who are guilty of such acts do not find accommodation in their channels or columns”.
Saleem Bukhari apologises for remarks about parliamentarians
Meanwhile, Saleem Bukhari on Thursday tendered an unconditional apology for his uncalled
for remarks against parliamentarians in a TV talk show.
Talking to media, he said that he could not defend his inappropriate words. Realizing his mistake, he said, he had immediately apologised for the remarks in the same programme and taken his words back.
“I am once again ready to apologise to the Senate chairman, senators and other parliamentarians for my uncalled for words.”
Saleem Bukhari lamented that his words had hurt the feelings and sentiments of the parliamentarians.