ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday suspended a government notification related to the appointment of Pervez Rathore as acting chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
A single bench of IHC comprising Justic Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi also suspended the notification regarding Rathore’s earlier appointment as executive member PEMRA and the appointment notification of Kamaluddin Tipu as executive member of the regulatory authority.
The IHC single bench issued these orders while hearing the petitions where all the three notifications were challenged due to the reason that the appointing authority mentioned in these notifications was of the prime minister whereas, under the PEMRA Ordinance, the appointing authority is of the president.
During the hearing, the authority had produced the amended summaries before the court while conceding that it was a clerical mistake and the summaries were duly approved by the president of Pakistan.
The counsel for the suspended chairman PEMRA Pervez Rathore, Ahmed Hassan Rana Advocate contended before the court that the suspension would bring the regulatory authority to a standstill when there were many cases this organisation has to adjudicate. Rana stated before the court that Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has forwarded some petitions after converting these into the complaints with directions to adjudicate. He added that with suspension orders regulatory body’s functions would come at a halt. He further said that the regulatory authority has been hearing the matters where some TV channels had been airing defamatory programmes against the superior judiciary.
At this juncture, Justice Qureshi asked from Rana to tell him if there is any mention of ‘acting chairman’ in PEMRA ordinance.
During the hearing, the environment of court got heated and Justice Qureshi ordered for issuance of show cause notices to Rana while observing that he tried to show muscles to the court. The bench expressed displeasure over the behaviour of Rana and said that he is trying to dictate the court. Later court withdrew the show cause notices at the request of senior counsel Barrister Mehmood A Sheikh.
Later, Justice Qureshi deferred all PEMRA related cases till July 18 (Friday) including the petition for reinstatement by former chairman PEMRA Ch Rashid Ahmad, suspension of show cause notices to its private members, challenging appointment of Pervez Rathore as acting chairman Pemra and validity of the Pemra’s decision imposing 15 days ban and 10 million fine on Geo, and appointment of Rathore as ex-officio member Pemra.
The court after hearing the arguments of Israr Abbasi, Pemra’s counsel Mehmood A Sheikh and Rathore’s counsel Ahmad Hassan Rana observed that the appointments of Rathore and Tipu were not made in accordance with the procedure laid down in the PEMRA ordinance and hence suspended.