Pemra Ordinance lapsed, SHC told
KARACHI, Feb 12: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday disposed of all three petitions challenging the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance after the Pemra counsel informed the court that the ordinance had lapsed and no action was pending or could be taken under it.
The petitions were moved by Sindh Bar Council members Mustafa Lakhani, Mohammad Aqil and Salahuddin Gandapur; the People’s Lawyers Forum and civil rights activist Iqbal Kazmi. Only Advocate Adnan Karim holding brief for PLF counsel Farooq H. Naek was present for the petitioners.
Representing Pemra, Advocate Kashif Hanif submitted before a division bench comprising Justice Azizullah M. Memon and Justice Arshad Noor Khan that the impugned ordinance was not laid before the National Assembly as envisaged under Article 89 of the Constitution and stood repealed at the expiration of four months in October 2007 as stipulated by the provision. He said that no action was taken or was pending or could now be taken under the impugned ordinance and the petitions had become infructuous.
Holding brief for Deputy Attorney-General Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui, Additional Advocate General Abbas Ali said he had nothing to add to the Pemra counsel’s statement.
Advocate Karim said he had no objection to the disposal of the PLF petition in terms of the submission made by the Pemra counsel. Other petitioners and their counsel have been absent on successive dates, including Tuesday.
The bench disposed of the petitions as the ordinance sought to be annulled was no longer in the field nor any action was pending under it.
The petitioners had challenged the ordinance as being repugnant to fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 18 (freedom of trade and profession) and Article 19 (freedom of expression) inasmuch as it provided for sealing of the office premises and seizure of equipment of television channels without notice.
The respondentsÂ’ counsel said whatever action was taken against TV channels was not under the provisions of the amended Pemra Ordinance.