Pemra chairman's appointment challenged in SC -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra chairman’s appointment challenged in SC

Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: A constitutional petition, challenging the appointment and the promotion of acting Pemra Chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar, was filed in the Supreme Court (SC), praying for declaring his appointment as illegal.

The petition was filed by Advocate Altaf Mehmood Malik under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, requesting the court to take a suo motto notice of the appointment and promotion of the acting Pemra Chairman.

The petitioner prayed to the apex court to set aside the entire illegitimate service of Dr Abdul Jabbar, starting from his deputation to Pemra with all subsequent steps, relating to his promotion and absolutionculminating finally to his elevation as Member/Acting Chairman, Pemra, as null and void ab initio.

The petitioner further prayed to the court that the arbitrary decisions taken by the Member/Acting Chairman by imposing ban on free media be declared null and void with the direction to PEMRA to ensure guarantee of the fundamental right of free speech as enshrined in the Constitution. It was further prayed to the court to order the recovery of huge sum of money, received in term of pay and allowances and other perks by the member/acting chairman, Pemra, accrued to him on his various illegitimate assignments in Pemra.

The petitioner further prayed that the court issue directives to the government not to appoint Dr Abdul Jabbar as Pemra chairman due to his incompatible credential and faulty background.

The petitioner has based the petition on a story published in The News of March 23, 2011, titled ‘The quick rise of Dr Abdul Jabbar as Pemra chairman’. It was reported that Dr Abdul Jabbar, the acting Chairman, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), has established a unique record to complete his hurricane journey from Grade 19 to 20 and then to Grade 21 in just seven months.

It was reported that Dr Abdul Jabbar was in a comfortable position where he is least bothered to follow the rules and instead is busy deciding the fate of electronic channels of the country of his sweet will or in line with the directions of the rulers of the day.

“Since his joining Pemra way back in 2005 till to date, Dr Abdul Jabbar appears to have been indispensable for Pemra as he kept on moving from one important slot to another without any hindrance.

Dr Jabbar’s upward movement in Pemra has been made possible only by bulldozing one after another set of established norms, the report revealed. It was reported that Dr Jabbar was serving in Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) as Director (International Liaison) in BPS-19 when in April 2005 his services were requisitioned by Pemra on deputation for a period of three years.

The report revealed that the first favour, which he got after landing in Pemra, was that despite holding a non-technical post in PTA, he was posted as acting director general (Technical). Moreover, despite being still in Grade 19, Dr Jabbar was allowed to hold a position, which was equivalent to Grade 20.

In January 2008, the report revealed that Dr Jabbar, who was still on deputation with Pemra, was promoted by his parent department i.e. PTA as director general equivalent to BPS 20. Within a few days, on January 24, 2008, Pemra prematurely repatriated him to PTA merely to let him avail and actualize his promotion.

Later, within days of his promotion and taking charge as director general in PTA, and while he was yet to be assigned a portfolio apparently for lack of any vacancy in PTA, Dr Abdul Jabbar’s services were once again requisitioned by Pemra on deputation on January 31, 2008. Upon rejoining Pemera on February 1, 2008, he was posted as Pemra director general (Technical) on the very next day on February 2, 2008. Just after two days of his rejoining Pemra on 4th February 2008, Dr Jabbar applied for permanent absorption in Pemra as director general (BPS 20). The report further revealed that again within two days of his application for permanent absorption a committee was hurriedly constituted on 6th February 2008 by the then Pemra Chairman Iftikhar Rashid to consider Dr Jabbar’s permanent absorption in Pemra.

The haste with which these arrangements were being made is self-explanatory as the committee which was formed for the purpose to consider Dr Jabbar’s permanent absorption in Pemra, comprised of those officials who were much junior and were in Pemra either on deputation or on contractual appointment, the report revealed.

It was also revealed in the report that this committee was so keen on recommending permanent absorption of Dr Jabbar that it recommended on the very day of its composition on February 6, 2008, his absorption in Pemra. Similar amount of haste was shown by the then Pemra chairman Iftikhar Rashid, who also took no time in approving the permanent absorption of Dr Jabbar on the very next day on February 7, 2008.
Source: The News