SHC adjourns hearing on Pemra Ordinance 2007 petitions -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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SHC adjourns hearing on Pemra Ordinance 2007 petitions

KARACHI (August 29 2007): A division bench of Sindh High Court comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab on Tuesday adjourned hearing of three identical petitions against recent amendments in Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Ordinance 2002 till September 25, 2007.

The petitions were filed by members Sindh Bar Council Salahudin Gandapur and Muhammad Aqil, Shahdat Awan, President Peoples Lawyers Forum, lawyers wing of Pakistan Peoples Party and Iqbal Kazmi.

The adjournment came on request of DAG Rizwan Ahmed Siddiqui who sought time to submit comments on behalf of federal government. He stated that in all petitions it was not specified how amendments in Pemra Ordinance were made in violation of Constitution and hit fundamental right of petitioners guaranteed under Article 19.

The court adjourning matter observed it would discuss same point on next hearing and directed DAG to furnish comments on said petitions by federal government till next hearing.

The Pemra counsel Kashif Hanif submitted comments on Iqbal Kazmi’s petition and also sought time to submit same on SBC petition. He stated Pemra never issued any order restraining private TV channels from live transmission of programmes from anywhere in country. It did not take any action against any private TV channel under amended Pemra Ordinance 2007.

Challenging promulgation of Pemra (Amended) Ordinance 2007, SBC, PLF and Iqbal Kazmi submitted it was beyond power of information ministry in the presence of Senate and National Assembly.

The amendment in Article 9 was draconian as it gave power to Pemra to confiscate premises and telecasting units of any TV channel. Impugned amended ordinance were affront to parliament and tantamount to over-ruling supremacy of legislative body, Parliament. They prayed to declare impugned Amended Pemra Ordinance 2007 as illegal, without lawful authority, of no legal consequence and violative of Article 19 of Constitution. It was also prayed to hold its operation and orders of Pemra chairman in abeyance till decision of petitions.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:8/29/2007