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January 28, 2020

Illegal recruitment: IHC issues notices to Pemra

National

January 28, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a notice to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) in a petition challenging the illegal recruitment in the regulatory body.

A single member bench, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, heard the petition on January 14 and issued notices to the federation, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pemra and its director general (DG) HR and Finance to submit their replies within fortnight.

“The petitioner is aggrieved on account of irregular and illegal appointments made by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. The learned counsel has, inter alia, contended that the authority appoints persons on daily wage/ contingent basis who are then regularised. The lcounsel has stated that such appointments have already been declared illegal by this court. Moreover, he has argued that eligible citizens, including the petitioner, suffer because their fundamental rights are violated by denying them equal opportunity to compete for appointment against vacant posts. Let notice be issued to Pemra for filing report and para-wise comments within a fortnight,” says the IHC order issued on January 14.

Earlier, a citizen, Shazr Ahmed Qureshi, filed a petition praying that recruitment in Pemra are without lawful authority and based on mala fide. According to the petition, the entire quota system has been violated for recruitment of candidates on regular/ contract basis since the establishment of the Pemra in 2002.

“There has been a violation of Regulation no. 27 (1) of the Pemra Employees Service Regulations 2011 because the quota system has never been followed which states that “the vacancies in all posts in PS-6 and above and such posts in PS-1-5 which serve the whole Pakistan shall be filled on an all Pakistan basis in accordance with the merit and provincial or regional quotas prescribed by the federal government for civil posts from time to time. Provided that where in the case of a professional or technical post the quotas cannot be observed, prior sanction of the competent authority/ chairman shall be obtained before making appointment to such post,” the petition says.

According to the petition, there has been a violation on behalf of Respondent No 6 (DG HR) being the head of the wing responsible for the unlawful regularisation by forwarding a misleading and cloaked note to the chairman bypassing the Executive Member, disregarding the Pemra Employees Service Regulations 2011 while initiating all these contingent appointments and later their unjustified regularization.

“It may be brought to the attention of the court that between the year 2010-2011, fifty one (51) employees were hired by the then chairman Pemra on contract/ daily wages/ contingent basis, in violation of recruitment quota/ procedure and later on all those 51 appointees were regularized at the whim of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on regularization of Contract/Daily Wages employees in the Ministries/ Divisions/ Attached Departments/Autonomous Bodies/ Organizations headed by the then Minister for Religious Affairs (Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah) on 13-03-2013. Copies of the letters of the Regularization of those employees’ letters no. F.No. 4(368)/05- HR dated 02-04-2013 and F.No.4(368)/05-HR dated 22-04-2013 are attached as Annexure “A”.

It is worth mentioning here that orders of the Cabinet Sub-Committee were subject to (i) availability of pots, (ii) fulfillment of recruitment criteria and (iii) verification of service record but while disregarding all those mandatory conditions the then GM and now DG HR painted a wrong picture, concealed the facts and got approval for the regularization of 51 such contingent employees from the then Chairman,” the petition says.

The petitioner further pleaded that the condition of availability of posts was covered through the attached Office Orders as regularization was made either under the same nomenclature or in the same grade or in some cases in higher grade for the purpose of salary. Following Employees were regularized against other posts grades:

“Similarly many consultants (senior as well as junior consultants) were hired during the tenure of the previous Chairman Pemra against the provisions of section 31 of Pemra Employees Service Regulations 2011. Again the Merit/ Provincial/ Regional quotas for recruitment under the Federal Government, under Article 27 read with Serial no.13 of the Estacode, were violated,” says the petition.

The petitioner further claims in his petition, “It is worth mentioning here whenever Respondent No.6 becomes Head of HR & Admin in Pemra, a flood-gate of irregular contingent appointments opens there. Repeating the previous practices, as many as 71 appointments on contingent/contract/daily wages basis have been made so far recently violating Article 27 of the Constitution of Pakistan, Pemra Service Regulations 2011 and Provincial Quota as laid down in the ESTACODE. Out of these 71 employees, Fifteen (15) Ghost employees are being paid by Pemra, hardly seen in the department & instead are working somewhere else. All these recruits have been appointed on contingent basis without considering their academic qualifications and experience”.

As per the petition, during the recruitment procedure there has not been a single woman candidate that has ever been considered from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa/Fata till date. Also, seats reserved for Minorities (5%) and special candidates (quota not specified) have never been considered which is against the true spirits of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.