Islamabad, May 21 (IANS) Should Pakistani judiciary order news channels to telecast Azan, the Islamic call to prayer, five times a day? No, says a leading Pakistani newspaper arguing that it will only cause more harm than good.
Not content with its crusade against corruption and attempts to regulate private school fees, Pakistan’s judiciary is now trying to protect the citizenry’s piety, the Daily Times said in an editorial on Monday.
On May 8, the Islamabad High Court directed that every Pakistani news channel will be bound to telecast Azan five times a day.
Justice Shaukat Siddiqui, presiding over this hearing, declared: “For Muslims, Azan is the greatest breaking news.
“The good judge seems worried about God-fearing Pakistanis not being able to find out about prayer time. It is an intriguing concern considering that there are thousands of mosques throughout the country, which perform this service, as well as numerous dedicated smartphone applications and TV Channels that exclusively broadcast Islamic content,” the daily said.
The editorial pointed out that over the weekend, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued a final warning to 45 television channels, saying they have to abide by the court order or their licenses will be revoked.
“Not only is this whole exercise unnecessary, it is a waste of the court’s time, especially considering it already has 16,278 pending cases.
“Furthermore, not all sects and sub-sects of Islam practiced by Pakistanis pray or break their Ramazan fasts at the same time.
“By directing television channels to broadcast a uniform time, the state might end up giving preferential treatment to certain sects and sub-sects, while isolating others.
“TV channels simply cannot air call for prayers for all the sects. The exclusion will only end up sharpening the sectarian divides,” it said.