Pakistan's broadcast regulator, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), has pulled off the airwaves two religious programmes that it feels would cause backlash during the ongoing holy month of Ramzan. One of the programmes to be pulled off air, however, has caused an uproar as it deals with the treatment of the Ahmadi community in the country.
“An immediate ban has been imposed on TV One’s programme Isq-e-Ramazan (hosted by Shabbir Abu Talib) and Aaj News programme Ramazan Hamara Iman (hosted by Hamza Ali Abbasi),” a statement said on Friday. The programme by Shabbir Abu Talib attacks the mainstream Sunni community while the programme hosted by Hamza Abbasi questions what it alleges is second-class treatment meted out to members of the Ahmadi community.
The Ahmadi community was declared non-Muslim by parliament in the 1970s despite the fact that the community itself claims it is part of Islam. In his show, Abbasi talks about how the community has been victimised over the years. Hundreds of community members have been attacked and murdered by members of religious outfits, said Abbasi. His programme has triggered a harsh response from religious circles. One religious cleric threatened Hamza with “dire consequences” in another TV show.
Soon after the notification was issued, the actor said on social media, “There is a divine pleasure in suffering in the way of Allah and Prophet Muhammad.