PEMRA head appointment: Reply sought from Centre, information ministry
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday sought replies from the federal government, ministry of information and broadcasting and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on a petition challenging the appointment of Mr Saleem Baig as chairman of the authority.
Lahore Press Club Secretary Babar Dogar, also bureau chief of a private TV channel, assailed the appointment for being made “in violation of” the judgments of the superior courts.
The petitioner’s counsel, Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, in his initial arguments stated that the government appointed the respondent chairman in sheer violation of the principles laid down in a judgment of the Supreme Court (M Yasin case) and a judgment of the Lahore High Court (Absar Alam case).
He argued that a substantial change was made in the eligibility criteria for the post through a second advertisement to suit Mr Baig. He said the candidates for the post were interviewed in a single day in a hurried manner and a report on the ineligibility of the respondent was ignored.
The counsel pointed out that the educational qualification of Mr Baig also did not fulfill the requirements laid down in the advertisements.
He argued that the process of selection of the respondent/chairman was a farce and a mockery of law.
He said the respondent throughout his career served as a government servant and naturally more suitable for it so as to further its political agenda by controlling the electronic media.
The counsel submitted that the process for the appointment to such a pivotal post must be free of irregularities and illegalities.
He asked the court to set aside the notification of the respondent’s appointment as Pemra chairman for being illegal and also initiate legal action against all those responsible for the impugned appointment.
Mr Baig was appointed on June 28, 2018.
After hearing the arguments, Justice Shahid Karim sought replies from the respondents within a fortnight.