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Pakistan to stop Indian TV channels, airing of foreign content 

Islamabad, Sep 1 (IANS) Pakistan has announced a crackdown on illegal Indian DTH services and airing of excessive foreign content by TV channels and cable operators in the country.

The move comes as the Indian government gave the go ahead to the state-run All India Radio (AIR) to broadcast programmes in Baluchi language.

The announcement by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) was made on Wednesday as Pakistan was ready to introduce its own DTH (direct-to-home) service in the coming months, Dawn news online reported.

“Around three million Indian DTH decoders are being sold in the country. We not only want this sale stopped but will also ask the relevant agencies to trace the money trail to determine the mode of payments made to Indian dealers selling these decoders to Pakistanis,” said Pemra Chairman Absar Alam.

“Adequate time is being given to the cable operators and satellite channels to adjust their timings as per the legal requirements. Otherwise, punitive action will be taken against the two important segments from October 15,” he said.

Action against the dealers of Indian DTH would be launched with immediate effect. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Pemra board held recently.

Pemra would write letters to the Federal Board of Revenue, the State Bank and agencies, including the Federal Investigation Agency, for curbing the sale of Indian DTH decoders in the country, Alam said.

Alam said all stakeholders, including cable operators and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, had been forewarned that steps would be initiated in near future against the airing of excessive foreign content.

Under Pemra rules, only 10 per cent of airtime (two hours and 40 minutes in a 24-hour transmission) is allowed for foreign content.

The Pemra board meeting also decided to completely stop the airing of any Indian channel in the country since none of them had landing rights in Pakistan, Dawn reported.

The punitive action would begin with fines and might lead to suspension and revocation of licences for repeated violations. He said the authority would write letters to the chief ministers for implementation of the Pemra decision with the help of police.

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