Media Bans and Reconciliation Talks: Which Way Is Pakistan Going?

Information Minister Rehman Resigns, Apparently in Connection With GEO Ban

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2009

The international community is expressing considerable disquiet as the Pakistani government continues its crackdown against the growing protest movement. There has been some indication, however, that the Zardari Administration is offering a deal to end the protests. Reportedly the latest offer was to restore the Sharif brothers’ ability to hold offices and to return control over the Punjab provincial government to the PML-N.

But while this olive branch was extended, the nation’s most popular TV news channel GEO News was banned across the nation on the orders of President Zardari. Zardari has been quoted as saying that since GEO has recovered the losses incurred during the Musharraf-era ban on their station they should refrain from covering the protest movement.

The crackdown has also claimed its first government minister, Information Minister Sherry Rehman, who reportedly resigned today. There has yet to be an official explanation for the resignation but Rehman had repeatedly been quoted as saying she would resign if any bans were imposed on the country’s media.

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