LAHORE : The Lahore High Court on Monday declared the appointment of Chairman PEMRA, Absar Alam as null and void and removed him from the position.
Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC issued the verdict on a petition filed by Azhar Siddique Advocate who challenged the appointment of the incumbent Pemra chief in court.
The court ruled that the appointment of Alam was made in flagrant violation of merit and the Supreme Court’s judgments in this regard.
During the hearing today the court had rejected PEMRA’s counsel Ali Gilani’s plea for granting time to submit record of Absar’s appointment as chairman PEMRA saying that the said record was not presented during the one-and-half-year hearing of the case.
PEMRA’s counsel argued that Absar has a wide and varied experience of working in various media and he pays heavy tax on his income. On the other hand the counsel of the petitioner arguing that Absar Alam has failed to do his job honestly asked the court to order him removed from his position as PEMRA chairman.
The court had reserved its judgment on a petition challenging the appointment of Alam, a senior journalist, as Pemra’s chairman on November 29. The petition had been filed by a citizen, Munir Ahmad.
In the petition, Ahmad had said that Alam had been drawing Rs1.5 million salary a month whereas the post of Pemra’s chairman was equal to the MP-I (Management Position) scale. He had informed the court that the maximum salary for MP-I scale is Rs450,000.
Ahmad had said the appointment of Alam was an open case of nepotism and a violation of merit on part of the federal government.
Announcing its verdict today, the high court ordered that a new Pemra chairman be appointed within 30 days.
The federal government had appointed Absar Alam, a working journalist, on the top position of electronic media oversight on October 2015.
Immediately after the LHC judgment Absar Alam relinquished charge as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority(PEMRA).
Orignally published by INP