IHC Restores PEMRA chairman, Issued stay order for removal

ISLAMABAD(16th December 2013): The Federal Islamabad High Court on 16th December reinstated Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Rashid Ahmad to his post, Express News reported.IHC reinstates PEMRA chairman, issues stay order against removal

Last night, the government had dismissed the chairman, but the court declared this dismissal null and void, issuing a stay order against his removal.

A notice has been issued to the acting chairman of Pemra, as well as the information secretary and the establishment.

Chaudhry Rashid had been appointed chairman of the government’s media watchdog on January 28, 2013 by former president Asif Ali Zardari under Section 6 of Pemra Rules after a ruling of the apex court barred the then acting chairman of Pemra, Dr Abdul Jabbar, from holding office.

The appointment had been made for four years on conditions that the incumbent must be a 22-grade retired  officer, who could be removed after serving one month notice only if he resigned himself, or contracted some mental or physical ailment or was disabled by some accident.

Ahmad’s appointment was, however, challenged by the incumbent federal minister for water and power, Khawaja Asif, in the Supreme Court.

Asif had argued that the appointment was not carried out in accordance with the January 15 order of the Supreme Court regarding the vacant Pemra chairman’s office.

Ahmad, a former principal information officer, has also been accused of corruption in the past, with cases pending in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Problematic appointment

According to sources in an earlier report, the summary of the appointment of Pemra chairman was initiated after the January 15 order of the Supreme Court. However, the date stated on the summary was January 8, prior to the apex court’s orders, and Ahmad was appointed to the post on January 26.

At the time of his appointment, Ahmad was a serving government official working as information and broadcasting secretary and was due to retire on May 26, 2013. Therefore, according to rules and regulations, the office of Pemra chairman fell vacant on May 26, 2013. However, Ahmad had continued to serve as Pemra chairman and was not given a fresh contract on MP-1 scale.