Sacked Pemra chief's plea to be heard today -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Sacked Pemra chief’s plea to be heard today

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The first hearing of a petition filed by Chaudhry Rasheed against his removal from the post of chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) is scheduled to be held in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday.

Mr Rasheed’s counsel Arfat Ahmed told Dawn that the petitioner would request the court to suspend the order of his removal as a first step.

It may be mentioned here that Tuesday is the last day for a media group to submit its reply to a show-cause notice issued by Pemra on an allegations levelled by the government about “maligning the army and Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI)”.

Mr Rasheed has challenged his removal on the ground that he was sacked at a time when his case is being tried in the court.

He was appointed Pemra chairman on Jan 26, 2013 by the previous PPP government and dismissed by President Mamnoon Hussain on April 17 this year. The government formed a three-member committee to run Pemra. Mr Rashid has termed the committee ‘illegal’ and said that its decision will have no validity.

Some senior lawyers expect that the Geo media group will take a similar stance and say that in the absence of chairman, the Pemra committee cannot hear its case and the matter should, therefore, be referred to the Supreme Court.

“The tenure of Pemra chairman is four years and the holder of the office cannot be removed except for misconduct. But in Mr Rashid’s removal order, no wrongdoing has been mentioned,” a senior lawyer said.

“Rather, he has been accused of committing corruption and irregularities during his earlier postings in other departments.”

The lawyer said that apparently the government wanted to appoint its favourite official on the Pemra post therefore it had removed Mr Rashid twice, initially on Dec 15, 2013 but sacked again after the IHC had restored him.