Supreme Court of Pakistan finally passed a verdict with green signal to the DTH service in Pakistan. The Apex court overturned the earlier decision of the Lahore High Court that was passed back in 2016 to stop the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to issue DTH licensing. The LHC stated that PEMRA had violated several rules when it auctioned the Direct-to-Home (DTH) service.
Several companies along with PEMRA challenged the LHC’s decision in the country’s highest court. The Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of PEMRA by annulling LHC’s decision and restoring the PEMRA rules under which the auction was held.
DTH Auction in Pakistan
PEMRA held the auction for DTH services in 2016 after getting the clearance from the apex court. The court gave the clearance on the condition that the DTH contract would be offered after the case concluded in LHC. The High Court in its verdict in December 2016 mentioned that PEMRA broke its own ordinance while holding the DTH bids.
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PEMRA auctioned three DTH licenses in Pakistan worth Rs 14.69 billion on 24th November 2016 as a move to control airing of illegal Indian content on cable network causing loss of money. However, the auction was done on the condition that no broadcaster would be allowed to enter the DTH market without prior approval.
PEMRA said that this clause was reasonable as the cost of DTH would run into billions and only biggest broadcasters would be able to afford it, giving them significant control over the DTH market. This condition was challenged in the Lahore High Court that ruled against PEMRA. The LHC ordered PEMRA to hold the auction from scratch.
While the controversy is over, we expect PEMRA to beef its final strategy and see DTH operating in Pakistan very soon.