Talk show at Q with Ahmed Quraishi goes Off Air
Islamabad, Pakistan: “At Q With Ahmed Quraishi” talk show at Express News has been suspended by the television channel after receiving massive reaction from civil society against the anchor of the show.
Anchorperson Ahmed Quraishi who is known for his relation with Middle Eastern diplomatic circles and Pakistani establishment had been in the middle of controversies in past also and his show went Off Air in past when he allegedly tagged a professor of LUMS university Dr. Taimur Rahman in April 2015 as “anti-Pakistan element”. However his show was put On Air after some days when management of television channel was reportedly approached by certain circles of Pakistani establishment. Dr. Taimur Rahman responded allegations and called accusations “completely false and constitute incitement to violence, hate speech, slander, and libel”.
In a letter to Express News Dr. Taimur Rahman mentioned that Express TV had done a great disservice to journalism and the public interests by allowing conspiracy theorists and slander mongers like Ahmed Quraishi prime time air time on their channel. He added that he had every intention of undertaking legal action and suing for damages to his reputation as a teacher, my family’s reputation, and for endangering me and my family.
Journalistic circles believe that this time the issue is grave as anchor Ahmed Quraishi allegedly called deceased Shia cleric Sheikh Nimar a terrorist. Shia cleric was beheaded on January 2, 2016 by Saudi Arabia for threatening the writ of the state of Saudi Arabia. The human rights group Amnesty International called death sentence against Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr as a “part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent.”
Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr was a respected personality among Shia community within Pakistan and protests were planned by Shia community against Express News and applications were sent to electronic media regulatory authority of the country to ban the show.
In his 3 January 2016 talk show at Q with Ahmed Quraishi, Ahmed reportedly called Shia cleric Sheikh Nimar a terrorist and defended his beheading by Saudi authorities and an internal affairs of Saudi government.
Pakistan Electronic media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took notice of the incident and Express News was served a notice for allegedly fanning sectarianism in the country.
It may be mentioned that Shia community believes that Ahmed Quraishi works for Saudi lobby in Pakistan and has been fanning hate against Shias.
However, Ahmed Quraishi believes that he is not working for any lobby and is not fanning sectarianism in the country. He believes he is an expert in Middle East politics and he has been misunderstood by his viewers.
However management of Express News did not accept his viewpoint and has suspended his show for indefinite period.
Sources claim that the show has not been deleted from Fixed Point Chart (FPC) of next month February 2016.
According to insiders, Ahmed Quraishi is close to top management of the channel therefore his show was allowed to go on-air without going through in-house censor and preview against professional parameters set by television channel itself to maintain content quality.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Quraishi in one of his twitter messages sent a complete statement to defend his position and said: