The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has slapped a fine of Rs500,000 (0.5 million) on private TV channel Neo News for violating its law and codes and airing abusive and misogynistic remarks by writer-director Khalilur Rehman Qamar in one of its programmes earlier this year. The regulatory body had earlier also issued a show-cause notice to the channel when the incident took place.

According to reports, the authority also instructed the TV channel to strictly observe the laws and code of conduct in matters pertaining to gender and to adopt a strict policy in this regard.

Back in March, a few days before the Aurat March, Qamar and journalist Marvi Sirmed were invited to be a part of a panel discussion on Neo TV’s show Aaj Ayesha Ehtesham Kay Saath. The topic of discussion was a petition against the Aurat March in the Lahore High Court (LHC). The petition, which had called the march “un-Islamic” with a ” hidden agenda to spread vulgarity”, had been dismissed by the court that said it couldn’t be banned under the law of the land. Qamar while speaking against the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi‘ launched a tirade against Sirmed when she murmured the same as he was talking. He hurled expletives her way and abused her on live television.


The incident had stirred a debate on social media with artists, journalists and politicians condemning the incident and calling for a boycott of Qamar.

WATCH: Resham tells Khalil ur Rehman Qamar that he is not even worth one ‘taka’

A number of high court lawyers reportedly also filed complaints in Pemra’s Council of Complaints against the programme. All three complainants stated that Rehman abused Sirmed for chanting the slogan mera jism, meri marzi, calling his conduct “highly objectionable” and against Pemra laws. They argued that the channel violated PEMRA’s directives and failed to perform their duties. It is pertinent to mention here that NEO News issued an apology to Sirmed and did not invite Qamar to any of its programmes again.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the Council of Complaints concluded that Qamar’s comments were “abusive and gender-biased” and that the channel violated several laws, including the Constitution by airing his remarks. The council also noted that the channel “failed to observe an effective delay mechanism” and that “the host of the programme could have employed various other methods to control the situation which were not opted at that time.”

Though the council recommended that a fine of Rs1m be imposed on the channel and a warning be issued to it, they later approved a fine of Rs0.5m on the channel along with a warning.