The Asian Human Rights Commission has released an urgent appeal after a popular Pakistani TV presenter called for followers of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to be killed.
Aalim Online is a popular religious affairs program put out by Geo TV. It is available all over the world, including the UK, Canada and the USA.
During this particular show, the presenter Aamir Liaqat Hussain (former Federal Minister of Religious Affairs in Pakistan) and his two guest “scholars” referred to he Ahmadi community as “kafir” who deserved death. This was repeated several times.
On September 8th, 45-year-old Dr. Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqi was ambushed in his medical clinic and shot dead. Two others were injured. The following day Saith Muhammad Yusuf, a 75 year-old rice trader and district chief of the Ahmadi sect, was gunned down by murderers on motorcycles.
So far, there have been no arrests.
As Geo TV is available in the UK, it is subject to the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. We have checked, and we cannot find any rules specifically covering incitement to genocide. Perhaps they thought it was unnecessary. However, in Section 3.1, there is this:
Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
Aamir Liaqat Hussain has got his bosses into trouble before. In May he prayed for the death of Salman Rushdie on the same show – Aalim Online – earning a reprimand from Ofcom.
Geo TV have also had the Advertising Standards Authority on their backs for allowing dodgy ads for questionable medical procedures, and “healthy” halal snacks for kids which turned out to be a kind of Muslim Monster Munch.
Some people – not least the sizeable Ahmadi community in the UK – might consider that by calling for religious genocide, Geo TV have overstepped the mark.
Just a little bit?