FIA closes 7 cable network stations

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has closed down seven Cable Network stations in Karachi and four in Lahore on Saturday night on the instructions of the Ehtesab Bureau as these unlicensed cable stations were allegedly spreading obscenity and depriving the national exchequer of valuable taxes and license fees.

These cable stations were being run by Satish Anand, Dr Tariq Sohail, Rashid Latif, Shahid Ahmad and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (Info-Highway). A complaint was received at the Ehtesab Bureau that during the last one-year or so, the Cable Network System was laid down in Karachi and other parts of the country.

An investigation was conducted by the Ehtesab Bureau which revealed that approximately 300 such individuals or companies were operating in Karachi alone and they had formed an 'All Karachi Cable Operators Welfare Association.'

According to the investigation, 250,000 to 400,000 houses were supplied with cable networking system in the metropolitan of Karachi. The cable operators were charging approximately Rs 2,500/- initially and Rs 250 to 300 per month from each subscriber. The leading operators in this field were M/s Info-Highway (Pvt) Limited.

A sad part of the whole affair was that the entire system of cable network was without any governmental contract and regulation. None of the operators of the system had obtained any license from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

According to the existing law, i.e. Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996, the PTA is required to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of the telecommunication system and the provision of telecommunication service in Pakistan.

According to Section 29(I) of the Act, 'no person can establish, maintain or operate a telecommunication system or provide any telecommunication service without obtaining a license under the said Act. Any violation of this makes an offence u/s 31(a)(b) and (h).'

The lack of regulation and operation of cable television system without licensing was causing colossal loss to the public exchequer on account of license fee and income tax besides spreading obscenity.

Keeping in view the above findings, the Ehtesab Bureau directed the FIA to conduct raids on all such illegal establishments so that the spread of this menace is eradicated. Raids were successfully conducted on Saturday night by the FIA at Karachi and Lahore. Seven such cable stations were closed down in Karachi and four in Lahore. All the equipment was confiscated and prosecution initiated under the law.

The News International Pakistan