LHC turns down govt request to put verdict against Absar on hold
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday turned down a request by the federal government to suspend the operation of a recent judgement which struck down the appointment of Absar Alam, a journalist, as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
Justice Shahid Karim, the judgement’s author, observed that the federal government should file an intra-court appeal (ICA) if it felt aggrieved by the verdict since Mr Alam had already relinquished the charge.
Representing the government, a deputy attorney general argued before the court that Pemra would stand dysfunctional if the court’s decision was implemented and that finding a new chairman was not possible within 30 days, as directed by the court.
He further argued that another judgement of the Supreme Court — Hamid Mir vs the federation — would be violated if the High Court verdict was not stayed. The law officer requested the court to stay the judgement for 30 days.
Advocate Azhar Siddique, who represented the petitioner against Mr Alam, opposed the government’s application and said it was based on mala fide intention. He said the government wanted to protect its favourites. Justice Karim dismissed the application of the government for being not maintainable.
In his verdict on Dec 18, the judge set aside Mr Alam’s appointment as chairman of Pemra and directed the government to appoint a new head within 30 days — strictly on merit. Mr Alam relinquished the charge shortly after the announcement.