Pemra chairman served with show cause notice -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra chairman served with show cause notice

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmad has been served with a show cause notice for initiating self-serving summary for the president to get himself appointed while violating the verdict of Supreme Court (SC) of 15th January, 2013 and rules of procedure. It also said that Rashid Ahmad’s promotion from BPS-21 to BPS-22 was on the basis of a false certificate and thus was against the rules.

Pemra chairman has been asked to show cause immediately but not later than seven days of the issuance of this notice as to why his appointment as Pemra chairman may not be set aside being unlawful. Moreover, he can specify if he wants to be heard in person.

If no response is received from him within the given time, it shall be assumed that he has nothing to say in his defence and the matter shall be decided in his absence in accordance with the law without any further notice.

The show cause notice issued by Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, who has been appointed as inquiry officer by the president said that the summary for the appointment of Pemra chairman was put up to him (Secretary Information and Broadcasting) by his subordinate officer namely Nasir Jamal, director general (IP). However, the summary did not mention how the panel of three persons was selected including his (Rashid Ahmad) name.

The said note did not disclose as to how the seven names of serving/retired officers of Information Group were selected, which were screened and names of three persons were sent for selection of one of them. The list of serving/retired officers of the Information Group annexed with the said note including the name of information secretary at the top of the list. It included names of PTV MD Yousaf Baig Mirza, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation DG Murtaza Solangi, and Pemra Executive Member Dr Abdul Jabbar, who were shown as serving officers of Information Group, whereas neither of them was a civil servant nor belonged to the Information Group.

The show cause notice said neither any comparison of the qualifications of the candidates was provided nor was any justification given based on their eligibility and credentials.

The summary, the notice said was irreparably defective and discretion exercised by the competent authority on the basis of the said summary could not be termed proper exercise of discretion as required by the law.

The notice further said that Pemra chairman deliberately violated the direct and specific SC order of 15th January, 2013, that stated that the position of Pemra chairman had to be filled by a person who fulfiled the exceptional and stringent requirements prescribed in the Pemra Ordinance and not by a casual appointee.

The order further said that the appointment had to be made through an open and transparent process to ensure that the appointee met the objective criteria specified in the Pemra Ordinance.

Therefore it said the summary did not fulfil the requirements of rule 15 (2) of the rules of business, 1973 and the appointment was secured on the basis of a deficient, disguised, biased and unlawful summary.

Rashid Ahmad has also been charged for deliberately concealing the applicable disqualifications in the summary, particularly the inherent disqualification associated with his status as serving civil servant and that he did not resign from civil service before or even after his appointment as Pemra chairman.

The show cause notice said that while moving the summary as information and broadcasting secretary, he was also discharging a trust and as fiduciary, responsible for careful observance with the Constitution, the relevant laws and the SC judgements.

It said that the comments of the Establishment Division about the requirements of public advertisement of the post were not a part of the summary placed before the prime minister. This apparent omission further makes the whole process defective and shows that the prime minister was not properly assisted in the decision making.

The other charge in the show cause notice said that Rashid manipulated the issuance of notification of his appointment as Pemra chairman by the Ministry he was heading as secretary. It was done the same day by his subordinate officer instead of the Establishment Division which alone was competent to do so.

It said the process of his appointment as Pemra chairman that was initiated and finalised under his own supervision being the secretary was neither open nor transparent and violated Articles 4,9,18 and 25 of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002 and the relevant government instructions contained in Estacode as well as SC’s specific directions.

It also pointed out that he secured his promotion from BPS-21 to BPS-22 on the basis of a false certificate that no enquiry was pending against him whereas pertinent enquiries were pending against him in NAB and FIA. The notice referred to SC’s verdicts in a number of cases that appointment made/secured on the basis of deficient and defective summary was liable to be set aside.

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