SC issues contempt notice to Pemra chairman
Says record shows Salman Taseer is WorldCall chief executive; CJ says transfer of shares by WorldCall is illegal; secretary information ordered to submit report on illegal channels
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued contempt of court notice to the chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for misguiding the court.
A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil-ur Rehman Ramday, was hearing two identical petitions against the closure of Geo News and ARY News, During the course of hearing, Chief Justice lftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked, “it seems that Pemra chairman is behind the closure of the two channels and resorts to mis-statement in the court.”
The court issued contempt of court notice to the Pemra chairman for making a false statement before the court, stating that channels were blocked due to the law and order situation in the city. The IG Sindh, however, while submitting a report before the court on the 1st hearing contradicted the assertion of the Pemra chairman.
The matter relates to the court’s prestige and hence, the court cannot ignore the misleading statements,” the chief justice observed.
Secretary Information Mansoor Suhail, Pemra Chairman Mushtaq Malik and Khalid Anwar the counsel for the cable operators, appeared before the court.
The court directed the Pemra chairman to submit his reply before the court on the next date of hearing. The court further ruled that there was nothing critical found in the PTV programme about the court, therefore, there was no need to take any action in this regard.
Muhammad Akram Sheikh, the counsel for the petitioners, had informed the court that the PTV chairman and information secretary had arranged a talk show on PTV criticising the court’s proceedings and its restraining orders passed on August 13 in a petition challenging the closure of Geo News and ARY News.
On Tuesday, however, the court reviewed the transcript of the said programme and found nothing critical about it as alleged by Muhammad Akram Sheikh.
The court directed secretary information to submit a report before the court pertaining to transmissions of other illegal channels, including Indian channels, and adjourned the hearing till October 4 served that according to the record available with the court, Salmaan Taseer, Governor Punjab was the chief executive of the WorldCall.
Additional Attorney General K K Agha said that the Pemra had issued notice to WorldCall for transferring shares to other company without its approval despite the fact that the licence was issued in the name of Salmaan Taseer. The chief justice observed that the transfer was in fact illegal and could not be transferred to any foreign company.
Akram Sheikh, counsel for Geo TV said that WorldCall was running five channels without the approval of the Pemra. He further said that even Star Plus was not to be allowed. He further submitted that the Pemra allowed Indian channels illegally. Mushtaq Malik, Chairman Pemra, however, submitted that they had not allowed the Indian channels.
Meanwhile, the court directed secretary information to submit a report before the court on the next date of hearing regarding transmission of illegal channels.
Raja Ibrahim Satti, counsel for secretary information, submitted that allegations regarding talk shows on PTV arranged by his client for criticising the court’s proceedings, was not true.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till October 4.
Source: The News