ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court restored on Monday Pervez Rathore as acting chairman and Kamaluddin Tipu as member of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
The court overturned the July 15 order of the Islamabad High Court which had suspended the June 24 notification about appointment of the two officials on petitions filed by Pemra members Mian Shams, Israr Abbasi and Fariha Iftikhar.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk converted petitions of the federal government and some members of Pemra into an appeal and directed the IHC to decide the matter on merit in accordance with the law.
On Monday, Advocate Mehmood A. Sheikh, representing Pervez Rathore, argued that the federal government which had challenged the high court order was also taking measures to appoint a permanent chairman of Pemra.
Advocate Mehmood, who also is an appellant before the Supreme Court along with the federal government, said the high court had suspended the appointment without hearing the parties.
The government’s petition argued that the high court had issued the July 15 order in haste and in an exemplary slipshod manner and, therefore, is unwarranted, illegal and unsustainable, especially when the relief sought in the case did not seek suspension of Mr Rathore and Mr Tipu.
Therefore, it said, suspending the appointment confirmed by the president on June 24 only to arrest dissent among Pemra members was totally unwarranted when their appointments were never questioned.
It said the regulator was facing an unenviable and serious situation but the petitioners before the high court were determined to bring it to a grinding halt and incidentally achieved the same. This clearly demonstrated their real objective which was to pursue their agenda even at the cost to the state, the government’s appeal said.
It said the functioning of Pemra had been severely affected in the absence of a chairman and it was having repercussions at the national level.
The high court order had betrayed the lack of appreciation of the crucial role Pemra played in state apparatus, it said, adding that the country was at war with terrorists and militants and at this crucial juncture the smooth functioning of the regulator was need of the hour.
“The high court order was issued in oblivion of all these valid and just considerations and it caused great hardship and deserves to be set aside,” the appeal said, adding that the petitioners had approached the IHC with unclean hands by acting against rules and the basic spirit of democracy.
The appeal said the objective behind the grant and exercise of jurisdiction on part of the judiciary was to do justice between the parties in accordance with the law and cure illegalities. Instead of looking into the merits, the high court engaged itself in all kinds of technicalities, it said.