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foreign affairs

Analysts say Pakistan fined and suspended TV network due to criticism of the government

The license of a Pakistani broadcast network critical of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was suspended by the government on Monday, angering several rights organizations and journalists in the country.

The 15-day suspension of ARY News started immediately, The New York Times reports, and the network also must pay a fine of 10 million rupees, or roughly $97,000. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said in a statement that ARY News disparaged the court system and senior judges on the talk show Khara Sach, but analysts believe the suspension is due to the show's host, Mubashar Lucman, criticizing Sharif and his government.

"ARY TV must be immediately allowed back on air," Mustafa Qadri of Amnesty International told The Times. "There is simply no justification for the Pakistani authorities to silence sections of the media solely because of their political leanings."

This is the second suspension of a news network in Pakistan this year. In June, Geo TV saw its license suspended after it aired a story accusing the head of Pakistan's spy organization of plotting to kill a network talk show host, Hamid Mir.