Tariq Asad, president of the Shuhada Foundation Trust associated with the notorious Lal Masjid, petitioned the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 7 seeking a court order against the airing of the Miss Veet Pakistan beauty pageant as well as various other entertainment-based TV programmes.
On the matter of the beauty pageant, the petition — a copy of which is available with DawnNews — reads: "This product [a hair-removal cream manufactured by the sponsor] aims and advertised asking women to remove body hair to make themselves more sexually appealing to [the] opposite gender, which is fundamentally shameful and against the injunction of shariah."
Apart from the beauty pageant, the petitioner has also called for a "ban [on] the exhibition of programmes titled Pakistan Idol, Voice of Pakistan and Turkish films dubbed in Urdu on Geo News, Capital News, Geo Kahani TV channels and the advertisement trailers of obscene Indian films on news channels."
Asad has further asked that the IHC direct the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to, "stop the exhibition of programs of competition of singing, dancing, fashion show and obscene advertisement being in violation of Articles 2-A, 14, 19 and 20 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973."
According to the petition, PEMRA has, "become entirely ineffective and unvigilant [sic] to control the behayai [shamelessness] of television channels."
"The electronic media has become a red light screen,” the petitioner complained, adding that television channels are "exercising and misusing their right to freedom of speech and expression and press [by] freely ignoring any moral values and limitations beyond the scope laid down in Article 19 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973."
The petition also moved that the Ministry of Information "be directed to appoint the chairmen, the members of the Censor Board and the members of [its various] committees from intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, doctors, engineers and ulema-e-deen/religious scholars."
Lal Masjid’s Shuhada Foundation usually deals with the media on behalf of Maulana Abdul Aziz, the suspended khateeb — prayer leader — of Lal Masjid, who continues to remain under observation of the authorities because of his inclusion in the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act.