Last chance to govt for reply on Pemra chief’s selection
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday gave a final opportunity to the federal government to file its reply on a petition challenging appointment of journalist Absar Alam as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
As the court resumed hearing, a deputy attorney general appeared on behalf of the government and sought more time to file the reply.
At this, petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique told the court that the government had been delaying its reply since institution of the petition in November 2015. He alleged that the government wanted to prolong the proceedings.
Justice Jawad Hassan also took serious notice of the delay and gave last chance to the government for submission of the reply. The judge also directed the law officer to come up with the government’s view on Pemra’s stance against the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case. The hearing was adjourned till April 5.
In his petition, Advocate Siddique alleged that the appointment of Absar Alam was a clear case of nepotism and violation of merit on part of the federal government. He said the government filled the permanent post of Pemra chairman with a temporary appointment. He said judgements of the Supreme Court barred contractual appointments on permanent posts.
The lawyer pointed out that the government had relaxed criteria for the post to accommodate the respondent. He said Rs600,000 salary along with perks and privileges had been fixed for the Pemra chairman but the respondent had been drawing additional benefits.
He asked the court to summon record of the Pemra chairman’s appointment as well as remuneration and other facilities he was enjoying.