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IHC reinstates PEMRA chairman

17 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday suspended the government's order for termination of the services of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed.

Hearing the petition filed by Chaudhry Rashid through his counsel Wasim Sajjad, the single-member bench of Justice Riaz Khan sought a reply from the government within 14 days. The court has also issued notices to the parties concerned.

The PEMRA chairman had requested the court to declare the termination order as illegal. President Mamnoon Hussain had on Sunday accepted the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to terminate Rashid, declaring the appointment ab initio, void, illegal and violative of the Supreme Court guidelines and orders in the acting PEMRA chairman's case and in Khawaja Asif vs state case.

Chaudhry Rashid's appointment had been declared neither open nor transparent. The Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) had moved the Supreme Court against Rashid's appointment as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority chairman. In a civil miscellaneous application filed before the court, TIP has argued that the previous government violated directives given by the Supreme Court on January 15, 2013, by appointing Rashid as the PEMRA chairman.

In its January 15 order on the vacant PEMRA chairman's office, the Supreme Court observed: "The position of chairman PEMRA has to be filled by a person who fulfils the exceptional and stringent requirements prescribed in the PEMRA Ordinance and not by a casual appointee."

"Moreover, the appointment has to be made through an open and transparent process to ensure that the appointee meets the objective criteria specified in the PEMRA Ordinance," the order further stated. "Despite the clear-cut orders of the Supreme Court, Rashid Ahmed continues to hold charge as the PEMRA chairman illegally," TIP said in its application.

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