LHC invalidates appointment of Absar Alam as Pemra chief
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday set aside the appointment of Absar Alam as the Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
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. The bench directed the federal authorities to appoint a suitable person on the post as per merit and the relevant laws within 30 days.
The bench had earlier on November 29 reserved the verdict on the petition after hearing arguments of the parties concerned. The federal government had appointed Absar Alam, a working journalist, on the top position of electronic media oversight on October 2015.
The petitioner alleged the respondent was appointed on the key post owing to his closeness with the PML-N government, which relaxed law on the qualification required for Pemra chief to accommodate him.
Siddique contended that Alam’s appointment as the chairman was made against the relevant laws and principles laid down by the superior court in its judgments.
Citing the Information Ministry, Pemra chairman and others as respondents in the petition, he further stated that the respondent was appointed in violation of the Pemra ordinance 2002 and the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him in an unjust manner ignoring merit.
He said Alam was receiving an exorbitant salary of Rs1.5 million a month despite the fact that the post he was holding was equivalent to management position scale and the maximum salary for this scale is Rs450,000.
He, therefore, pleaded with the court to declare as illegal the appointment of the incumbent chief of the electronic media regulatory body.