Supreme Court bars acting chairman PEMRA from working
By: Sohail Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday barred the acting chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Dr Abdul Jabbar from holding office and asked the government to appoint a head of the authority on a permanent basis.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Jawad S Khawaja, in a brief interim order, informed the counsel of Pemra that Dr Abdul Jabbar will not perform his duties as chairman or acting head of the authority from today (Thursday).
The bench was hearing the petition filed by anchorpersons Hamid Mir, Absar Alam and Asad Kharal regarding the formation of a judicial commission for the media’s accountability, misuse of secret funds of as many as 27 ministries/ organisations, institutions and the departments of federal government, including the Information Ministry. These institutions have allegedly spent an amount of some Rs5 billion under the head of secret funds through different ministries.
During the hearing, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that the authorities have failed in appointing a permanent chairman of Pemra for the past more than one year and a half. Dr Abdul Jabbar was appointed as a caretaker but he had been passing orders in abundance, and, therefore, he should be barred from discharging duties as head of the authority.
Petitioners (Hamid Mir, Absar Alam and Asad Kharal) were present in the court. Asad Kharal requested the court that he wanted to share some more important information about the misuse of public money in the account of the press council of Pakistan and Pemra as well.
The court asked him to submit his application in writing in a separate Civil Miscellaneous Application (CMA) within a week. Earlier on Wednesday, the court directed the concerned ministries through the Deputy Attorney General and counsel of the Information Ministry to submit a reply regarding spending of an amount of about Rs5 billion under the head of secret funds through various ministries and their attached departments, but these ministries did not submit any reply on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for a week.
Later on, while talking to the media outside the court, Hamid Mir, the petitioner, said that the court accepted his stand and has stopped the acting chairman from functioning.