A retired general and former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf seems to have chosen mainstream media as his career of choice post retirement, with Bol TV billing him as the main attraction of a weekly TV programme in a Sunday evening post on the channel’s Facebook page.
According to the promotional video aired by Bol TV, the weekly show is called ‘Sab Se Pehle Pakistan with President Musharraf’ and will be aired every Sunday 8pm.
The first episode, which aired on Sunday, February 26, saw Musharraf responding to an anchor’s questions from Dubai — where he is currently living in self-exile.
‘Missing in action’
The incumbent government had in March 2016 allowed Musharraf to travel abroad to seek medical attention after the Supreme Court lifted a ban on his travel abroad.
This had stirred a controversy, as Musharraf had been facing a treason case for abrogating the Constitution and imposing an emergency in 2007.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had on Dec 8, 2016 given a month’s deadline to Musharraf to surrender in the judges’ detention case, which relates to the detainment of over 60 judges of the superior courts after Musharraf declared an emergency in the country in Nov 2007.
The court had warned that the former military ruler would be declared a proclaimed offender if he failed to comply with the deadline.
However, Musharraf’s counsel had on Jan 13 filed an application with the ATC seeking “foolproof security” in order to be able to return to Pakistan and appear in court.
Until such security measures are taken, the application said, Musharraf should be exempted from appearing in the court.
Earlier this month, an ATC in Islamabad had issued perpetual arrest warrants for Musharraf in the same case.
Mired in controversy
Bol TV has recently been mired in a tussle with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) over ‘hate speech’ aired from its platform.
Last month, Pemra had issued a show-cause notice to Labbaik Pvt Ltd (Bol News channel) for defying an order to discontinue the Aisay Nahi Chalay Gaprogramme, and to keep its host, Amir Liaquat, off the air.
The regulator had taken exception to the programme over its “controversial and hate-based contents” and barred Liaquat from appearing on any TV screen.
Earlier this month, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, had directed Bol News to immediately cease airing all ‘hateful content’ or face contempt of court charges.
During the hearing, the apex court had addressed the TV channel’s director of operations, directing him to submit an assurance “within half an hour” that the channel would not air any content that incites hatred.
Bol News, in response, had submitted a signed undertaking in the Supreme Court, vowing to refrain from airing the ‘Aisa Nahi Chalay Ga’ programme hosted by Aamir Liaquat until further notification by the apex court.