Pakistani cable television operators blocked broadcasts of the BBC World News channel on Tuesday and threatened to suspend other Western channels over “negative propaganda” about Pakistan.
The president of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, Malik Furqan Riaz, criticised the BBC for showing what he called an “anti-Pakistan documentary” and said the channel had been taken off air in several cities.
The move came as anger rages over NATO attack on Pakistani posts near the Afghan border on Saturday that killed 24 soldiers.
Viewers in Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore said they were not receiving the BBC channel while the suspension was partial in the country’s largest city Karachi.
“BBC World will be totally blocked across the country on Wednesday, unless the channel tenders an apology for showing anti-Pakistan documentary,” Riaz said.
He gave no details about the documentary, but the BBC said on its website that the move was a response to “Secret Pakistan”, a two-part programme questioning Pakistan’s commitment to tackling Taliban militancy.
Earlier Riaz threatened other Western broadcasters with suspension.
“We want to warn Western and international news channels to stop negative propaganda against Pakistan and Pakistani armed forces otherwise we will block their broadcasts,” he told AFP.
Angry protests over the NATO attack continued for a fourth day on Tuesday, with up to 200 people demonstrating in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, setting fire to an American flag and an effigy of NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
In the central city of Multan, 250-300 students chanted slogans against NATO raids, police said.
Pakistan has already closed the Afghan border to NATO convoys, a lifeline for 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, ordered American personnel to vacate an air base reportedly used by CIA drones and ordered a review of the alliance.
It also decided to boycott the December 5 talks in the German city of Bonn on Afghanistan, widening its protest over lethal cross-border NATO strikes and exacerbating a deep crisis in US ties.