Pemra chief steps down after LHC order

absar alamLAHORE: Journalist Absar Alam relinquished his position as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) shortly after the Lahore High Court (LHC) declared his appointment illegal in a decision announced on Monday.
The short order annou­nced by Justice Shahid Karim set aside the appointment of Mr Alam as Pemra chairman and directed the federal government to appoint his replacement within 30 days strictly in accordance with the law and merit policy. The reasons would be recorded in the detailed verdict.
Shortly after this 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 Mr Alam’s appointment as chairman of Pemra for being made in violation of laws and based on nepotism.
Advocate Azhar Siddique had represented the petitioner, pleading that the respondent had been drawing Rs1.5 million as salary per month, whereas the post of Pemra’s chairman was equivalent to the MP-I (Management Position) scale. He said the maximum salary for an official in MP-I scale was Rs450,000. He argued that Mr Alam’s appointment was a clear case of nepotism and violation of merit on the part of the federal government. He said the government had 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 Mr Alam. He asked the court to set aside the impugned appointment as being unlawful.
Advocate Ali Shah Gillani had represented Pemra and defended Mr Alam’s appointment as a prerogative of the prime minster. He argued that the prime minister had chosen the respondent from a panel of three, recommended by a duly formed selection committee. Justice Karim had earlier reserved the verdict on Nov 29.

Source : Dawn

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