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Pakistani law bans broadcast licences for non-nationals, court hears

Only Pakistani citizens can receive a licence to broadcast within Pakistan, the Lahore High Court has heard during a petition to prevent an alleged joint venture between India's Zee Group and Pakistan Television (PTV).

"The entry of foreigners in the field of communication was a subject of extreme security matter for Pakistan. The PEMRA Ordinance 2002 clearly says that it is a mandatory condition that no licence may be issued in Pakistan, be it for broadcast, landing rights, or cable operations, to any entity owned by foreigners or controlled by the foreigners from outside," counsel informed the court on20 October, according to The Nation.

The petitioner, Mian Muhammad Aslam, reportedly claims that a joint venture between PTV and Zee's Ten Sports is in the pipeline to provide exclusive coverage of cricket fixtures within Pakistan. The court also heard that the managing director of PTV, Yousaf Baig Mirza, had formerly been an employee of the Zee Group.

Through his counsel, Aslam requested the court – presided over by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed – to stop the joint venture from coming to fruition, and to direct the government not to issue broadcast licenses to foreign entities.

The Ministry for Information and Broadcasting and the managing director of PTV have been ordered to submit their reply to the Lahore High Court on 24 November.

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