Intense race for top Pemra slot -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Intense race for top Pemra slot

ISLAMABAD, January 25,2005 The government has finally decided to fill the post of chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).

Informed sources told The News that the Information Ministry moved two summaries last week, one after the other, recommending a panel of officers to the competent authority for appointment. The second summary was moved within the few days of the first summary, seeking changes in the panel recommended earlier.

The summaries were forwarded through the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. However, the president is the competent authority to appoint the Pemra chairman. Additional secretary incharge of the Information Ministry Shahid Rafi, when contacted confirmed that the government was in the process of appointing the Pemra chairman, the position that fell vacant in June 2004 with the departure of Mian Javed. “We will soon finalise the appointment,” Rafi said, adding that the ministry had forwarded its recommendations to the competent authority.

He, however, did not tell the details, as to what is happening within the government on the subject or as to who are the prime candidates for the post. Under the Pemra Ordinance, the president appoints the authority’s chairman for four years. Rafi, who joined the Information Ministry a couple of months ago, said he could not explain as to why the key Pemra post was not filled for over six months.

Although the Information Ministry’s boss was reluctant to share the names included in the panel or divulge the reason for recommending two panels one after the other, the sources said that some powerful quarters were pushing for certain names.

The first summary, according to a source, included the panel of three serving or retired officers. In order of priority these names were Wasimul Haq Haqi, Chairman Board of Investment; Khaliq Aslam, an employee of the Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation and Khawaja Ejaz Sarwar, former labour secretary and a retired BS-22 officer of the Information Group.

The summary was reportedly moved on January 17 through the Establishment Division. However, two days later on January 19, the Information Ministry moved another summary, seeking cancellation of the previous one and proposing the names of Iftikhar Rashid, communications secretary and a retired BS-22 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, Wasimul Haq Haqi and Khawaja Ejaz Sarwar in order of priority.

The Information Ministry was said to be directed to include Wasimul Haq Haqi’s name on top of the panel proposed in the first summary. However, according to sources Haqi is no more in the good books of Minister of Privatisation and Investment Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. Soon the government had second thought as the Information Ministry was directed again to forward the panel afresh with Iftikhar Rashid’s name on the top and placing Wasimul Haq Haqi at number two.

Khawaja Ejaz Sarwar has been included in both the panels because of the reason that he was the lone recommendation, when the appointment was considered by former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

At that time, Jamali was proposed to recommend to the president Sarwar’s name for the post. Instead he returned the summary to the Information Ministry with the direction that a panel of three officers should be recommended as provided under the rules.

Among the three runners finally included in the panel, Iftikhar Rashid is a retired police officer, who was given re-employment contract as communications secretary for two years, ending in a few weeks time. Though Rashid was to retire in early 2003 under the Jamali rule, he was given two years extension at least four months in advance by Gen Musharraf during the last days of his role as country’s chief executive.
Source: The News