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December 19, 2017

Pemra chief’s appointment declared null and void

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December 19, 2017

LAHORE: Senior journalist Absar Alam relinquished the charge as chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) immediately after the Lahore High Court declared his appointment illegal in a decision announced on Monday. The short verdict announced by Justice Shahid Karim set aside the appointment of Absar as the Pemra chairman and directed the federal government to appoint within 30 days a new inacumbent strictly in accordance with law and merit policy.

Shortly after the announcement, Pemra issued an official statement, saying, “Chairman Absar Alam has immediately abandoned his charge after the decision of the Lahore High Court.” A citizen, Munir Ahmad, had challenged the appointment of Absar as the Pemra chairman for being made in violation of laws and based on nepotism.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, who represented the petitioner, argued that the respondent had been drawing Rs1.5 million as salary per month whereas the post of Pemra’s chairman was equal to MP-I (Management Position) scale. He said the maximum salary for MP-I scale was Rs 450,000.

He argued that the appointment 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. The lawyer stated that the government had relaxed the educational criteria for the post to accommodate Absar.

He asked the court to set aside the impugned appointment for being unlawful. Justice Karim had reserved the verdict on Nov 29. Advocate Syed Ali Gillani had represented the Pemra and defended the appointment of Absar as prerogative of the prime minster. He had argued that the prime minister had chosen the respondent from panel of three recommended by a duly-formed selection committee. APP adds from Islamabad: After the LHC verdict, Absar Alam immediately relinquished his charge as Pemra chairman, said a press release issued on Monday.

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