IHC seeks original record of Pemra's functioning -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

IHC seeks original record of Pemra’s functioning

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday directed the acting Chairman Pemra Pervez Rathore to produce before it the original record pertaining to the functioning of the authority’s day-to-day affairs with the court’s ‘status quo’ orders in place.

Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi passed these orders while hearing a contempt of court application of two private members of Pemra against the acting chairman.The application was filed by Israr Ahmed Abbasi and Fareeha Iftikhar against Pervez Rathore for allegedly violating the court orders.

During the June 26 hearing, the court directed Rathore to appear in person along with the record and explain how he was running the day-to-day affairs of the authority after the status quo orders of June 9.

On Monday, when Rathore appeared before the court, the bench expressed displeasure at the production of photocopies of record and said it had sought the original record.Legal counsel for chairman Pemra said it was his advice to produce photocopies of the record. However, he assured the court that the original record will be produced on the next date of hearing.

Justice Qureshi asked the acting chairman Pemra how did he interpret the June 09 orders that said ‘status quo shall be maintained by all means’.Rathore said it meant everything will keep functioning without any change. He further said he had not violated the court orders. Justice Qureshi then asked if he knew the difference between the day-to-day affairs and the final orders. At this, Pervez Rathore said he had not passed any final orders. There were few petitions turned into complaints that Pemra had received from the court of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui with directions to take action.

Justice Qureshi directed the acting chairman to submit his additional reply till July 02. Private Member Pemra Israr Ahmad Abbasi argues that Rathore has been flouting the court orders and still functioning despite the June 09 orders of the court. In the petition of former chairman Pemra Chaudhry Rashid Ahmad seeking reinstatement, legal counsel for the Ministry of Information Barrister Mehmood A Sheikh forwarded arguments.

Barrister Sheikh said the former chairman Pemra was seeking his reinstatement on the basis of a summary that was forwarded to the president for approval. “So this summary with all its details must be discussed.”

Barrister Sheikh said a DG of the Ministry of Information drafted a summary for the appointment of chairman Pemra on December 24, 2013. In his summary, the DG recommended that neither Dr Abdul Jabbar be appointed as chairman Pemra because he is a junior officer, nor Murtaza Solangi be appointed as he is not an appropriate person.

The summary draft further recommended that no serving official of the Ministry of Information but a retired officer may be considered for the post. Later secretary Ministry of Information manipulated the summary for appointment and recommended three names to the president including him.The bench directed that all documents pertaining to this appointment be produced before the court on the next date of hearing on July 2.

During the previous hearing on June 26 Ch Rashid Ahmad’s counsel Barrister Wasim Sajjad argued before the court that his client had been appointed for four years as the post of chairman Pemra was a tenure post. He said removal of his client from the post of chairman was based on mala fide intentions as the government wanted to appoint its own blue-eyed-boy to the slot. Barrister Sajjad argued that his client could only be removed under Section ‘7’ of Pemra ordinance that related to misconduct.

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