LHC annuls Absar Alam appointment as PEMRA chief

LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) has nullified the appointment of Absar Alam as chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).
The LHC had on Nov 29 reserved the verdict on a petition challenging appointment of senior journalist Absar Alam as PEMRA chief.
On the last hearing, PEMRA’s counsel Ali Shah Gillani concluded his arguments in defence of the appointment. He sought more time from the court to furnish record relating to the appointment. However, Justice Shahid Karim declined the request and observed that all relative record should have been produced before the court far earlier.
The petitioner’s counsel Azhar Siddique also opposed the request pleading that the court had sought the required record from the PEMRA on October 6, 2016, while the petition had been pending for over two years. The judge observed that no more adjournment could be allowed at this stage. However he permitted the PEMRA’s lawyer to submit his written arguments within a day or two.
The petitioner pleaded that the appointment of Absar Alam was a result of political consideration. He said the government filled the permanent post of the PEMRA chairman with a temporary appointment.
The counsel argued that judgments of the Supreme Court barred contractual appointments on permanent posts. Whereas the appointment of the respondent was made as acting chairman of PEMRA, he added.

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