Pakistani TV host Aamir Liaquat called a lawyer named Jibran Nasir an “atheist” who was “anti-Pakistan” and “anti-Islam.”
Liaquat accused Nasir and four other activists of blasphemy, claiming they insulted Islam and Muhammad and that they had anti-military Facebook pages and criticized the military in social media posts, according to the BBC.
Now, because of the TV host’s accusation, Nasir has received death threats, he stated in a letter to the government media regulator, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
Nasir complained to the regulator that the public’s passions were inflamed against him in Liaquat’s January program, which he called a “defamatory and life threatening campaign.” Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan.
A copy of his Jan. 20 complaint is on Pakistani news site Dawn’s website. Dawn is the oldest and largest-circulating English-language newspaper in Pakistan.
In the complaint, Nasir said several Pakistani bloggers and activists were kidnapped in early January and that after their kidnapping they were falsely linked to a blasphemous Facebook page, “Bhensaa.”
Then, Nasir said he, Mufti Faisal Khursheed, and the families of two of the missing activists held a press conference denying the accusations that the missing activists ran the Facebook page.
For that reason, Nasir says Liaquat accused him, Mufti Faisal and the two missing activists, Dr. Salman Haider and Ahmed Waqas Goraya, of being “anti Pakistan” and “anti Islam.”
In a second program the next day, Liaquat “attacked on my faith and beliefs and declared me an atheist,” Nasir’s complaint states.
“If any danger comes to my life, I will hold PEMRA equally responsible for failing to take necessary action against Amir Liaquat and the management of Bol News, whom I hold equally responsible for this defamatory, malicious and life threatening campaign against me, and allowing them to run this campaign unchallenged on their watch,” Nasir warned PEMRA.
“Hundreds” complained over Liaquat’s show, according to the BBC.
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After Nasir’s complaints, PEMRA investigated and accused Liaquat of hate speech. PEMRA accused Liaquat of hate speech and said he must apologize else he be kicked off air.
PEMRA added that Liaquat must apologize “unconditionally to the viewers,” Pakistan news site Dawn reported.
It also fined the network for 1 million rupees, or about $10,000, the BBC reported.
If Liaquat doesn’t apologize by March 31, he will be banned by the regulator from appearing on BOL TV.
Liaquat hosts a show for BOL TV called “Aisay Nahi Chalay Ga,” which interestingly translates to “This is Not Acceptable.”
If he doesn’t apologize, he and his network could be banned from broadcast, according to the BBC.
iMediaEthics has written to Liaquat to ask if he will apologize and why he called the five bloggers/activists blasphemous.
Liaquat has used controversial comments and actions to drive ratings and attention, the BBC’s analyst Ilyas Khan wrote.
According to the BBC, during a 2013 live broadcast, he gave two abandoned babies to couples who didn’t have children. He previously had given away cars and electronics.