Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dictator Musharraf shuts down Geo TV

The News International, November 17, 2007

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

ISLAMABAD: Geo News, Pakistan’s premier Urdu news channel, also seen round the world as the main source of news and current affairs, was shut down at 1 a.m. Pakistan time (12 midnight Dubai time) after President Pervez Musharraf put tremendous pressure to silence a media outlet which had refused to bow down to his dictates.

Sources said President Pervez Musharraf himself intervened to stop all Geo News transmissions from Dubai, after a two-week standoff in Pakistan during which all major news channels were shut down by cable operators, who are directly controlled by the Pakistani authorities.

The closure of the Geo News was universally condemned by almost every political party and member of the civil society minutes before the anchors, almost in tears, signed off.

PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif told Dr. Shahid Masood on telephone from London it was a tragic moment in Pakistan's history as the Musharraf regime was bent upon destroying every symbol of free speech and democracy in the country.

Makhdoon Amin Faheem, the PPP Vice Chairman, told the Geo News in its dying moments that it would be a tragedy for the country and democracy if Geo went off the air, which it did minutes later.

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