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Pakistan Bans TV Host Who Said Missing Bloggers Deserve To Die


The state media regulator said in a statement on January 26 that Amir Liaqat's daily show on the Bol television channel had been discontinued and prohibited from appearing on the channel "in any manner."

Pakistan has banned a popular television host after he said five bloggers who are missing were enemies who deserved to die under blasphemy laws.

The state media regulator said in a statement on January 26 that Amir Liaqat's daily show on the Bol television channel had been discontinued and prohibited from appearing on the channel "in any manner."

"Liaqat cannot call anyone an infidel or traitor," the statement said, adding that hate speech was a crime under Pakistani law.

In Pakistan blasphemy is a criminal offense that can result in the death penalty. Even being accused of blasphemy can lead to deadly attacks by religious vigilantes.

The five bloggers disappeared in separate incidents in the capital, Islamabad, and the cities of Lahore and Nankana Sahib earlier this month. The bloggers were known for their critical views of the country's military establishment and Islamic extremism.

On his show, Liaqat accused the five of blasphemy and also ridiculed other secular people, claiming they are enemies of the state and deserve to be killed.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bloggers' disappearances but rights groups say they suspect the bloggers were abducted by Pakistani intelligence agencies seeking to clamp down on dissent.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, AP, dpa, Reuters, and AFP
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