Pak cable ops call off strike

MUMBAI: Pakistan cable operators called off their three day agitation on Tuesday evening, and have decided not to press for the resumption of transmission of banned channels in the country.

ACable operators in Pakistan had gone on a week long agitation protesting the government's ban on Indian satellite channels, which are very popular across the border.

Operators across the country, owing allegiance to the All Pakistan Cable Operators Welfare Association, blacked out all foreign and local private channels in most parts of the country, but the government stuck to its stand saying that Indian channels would not be allowed. While operators showed only the four PTV channels, PTI reports said that the government was also considering revoking the licenses of cable ops who continued to resort to a blackout, as a punitive measure. Last evening, however, the operators called off their strike and resumed transmission of a number of channels to their viewers.

According to the daily Dawn, a spokesman for the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority welcomed the step and said Pemra would help in the resolution of their "genuine" problems within the parameters of Pemra Ordinance and as per policy of the government. "We will facilitate between the channel providers and cable operators in determining rates for foreign channels and also ask Wapda and civic bodies to extend cooperation to cable operators," a spokesman of the Authority said.

While the cable ops have dropped the demand for resumption of transmission of banned Indian channels, accordingt to the Dawn, the associaton representing the cable ops has now outlined major problems including high rates of foreign channels available on decoders, difficulties in availing poles facilities of bodies like Wapda, the absence of a uniform policy of civic bodies and relay of ads on VCDs. Pemra is scheduled to hold a public hearing shortly on the issue of fixing rates of foreign channels, the Dawn says.

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