Islamabad: Two leading news channels were
blacked out from cable networks in parts of Pakistan amidst
protests by workers of the ruling PPP over media reports that
a man had hurled shoes at President Asif Ali Zardari during a
recent function in Britain.
The Geo News and ARY News channels, which had reported
on the incident involving Zardari, were taken off by cable
networks in the southern Sindh province.
Scores of Pakistan People`s Party workers organised a
protest outside the Geo News office in Karachi, shouting
slogans and waving party flags.
Geo News` managing director Azhar Abbas said his
channel was off the air in Karachi and other parts of Sindh
ARY News official Mohsin Raza said cable networks
blacked out his channel because of threats from PPP workers.
He said the channel planned to take up the matter in
the Supreme Court.
The Jang group, which owns Geo News and The News
daily, said bundles of its newspapers were snatched and burnt
in Karachi and in cities and towns across Sindh.
The two channels had played up reports that a 60-year-
old man named Shamim Khan had flung two shoes at Zardari while
he was addressing a convention of PPP workers in Birmingham on
The shoes did not land near Zardari and Khan was
escorted out of the venue by security guards.
Khan later told Geo News that he acted to protest
Zardari`s meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron,
who triggered a storm in Pakistan by saying that the country
had links with groups that promoted the export of terror to
Afghanistan and India.
However, Zardari`s aides insisted that no such
incident had occurred at the meeting in Birmingham.
Geo News managing director Abbas alleged the PPP and
the government were behind the campaign against his channel.
The government denied it was involved, saying it
opposed all attacks on the media.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman
Kaira denied the impression that broadcasts of certain news
channels were blocked on the instruction of PPP`s leadership.
Kaira said there could be "numerous reasons" for the
suspension of broadcasts of certain channels in some areas.
"It is inappropriate to start criticising the
government without going into the details," he said.
He said he would investigate the matter to ascertain