Pemra chairman Rashid Ahmad removed from post

Khawaja Asif had challenged appointment of Rashid in the Supreme Court.


Web Desk December 15, 2013
Rashid was appointed as Pemra Chairman on January 28, 2013, after a ruling by the apex court barred the acting Pemra chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar from holding office. PHOTO: APP/FILE

The government removed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Rashid Ahmad from his post, Express news reported.

Rashid had been appointed chairman of the government's media watchdog on January 28, 2013, after a ruling by the apex court barred the acting Pemra chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar from holding office.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Development Khawaja Asif had challenged Rashid's appointment by the former government in the Supreme Court.

Asif had argued that the appointment was not carried out in accordance with the January 15 order of the Supreme Court regarding the vacant Pemra chairman’s office.

At the time, the court had observed: “the position of chairman Pemra has to be filled by a person who fulfils the exceptional and stringent requirements prescribed in the Pemra Ordinance and not by a casual appointee.”

“Moreover, the appointment has to be made through an open and transparent process to ensure that the appointee meets the objective criteria specified in the Pemra Ordinance,” the order had stated.

Ahmad, a former principal information officer has also been accused of corruption in the past, with cases pending in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Problematic appointment

According to sources in an earlier report, the summary of the appointment of Pemra chairman was initiated after the January 15 order of the Supreme Court, however the date stated on the summary was January 8, prior to the apex court’s orders and Ahmad was appointed to the post of the chairman on January 26.

At the time of his appointment, Ahmad was a serving government official working as information and broadcasting secretary and was due to retire on May 26, 2013. Therefore, according to rules and regulations, the office of Pemra chairman fell vacant on May 26, 2013. However, Ahmad continued to serve as Pemra chairman and was not given a fresh contract on MP-1 scale.

Sources also revealed that the government wanted Rashid Ahmad to continue working as the media watchdog’s chairman, however the Supreme Court has barred re-employment of public servants after retirement.

In a civil application filed before the Supreme Court in August, Transparency International Pakistan had stated: “The criteria of the Pemra Ordinance were bypassed, no advertisements placed in the national press and the fact that he was supposed to retire in a few months was not disclosed. This illegal appointment was done a month and a half before the interim government took over.”

It added that there was a conflict of interest in Rashid’s appointment as well.

“How can a candidate prepare the summary for his own appointment for a four-year tenure post… if this is procedure allowed by the apex court, TIP fears that every retiring secretary will prepare summaries for their post retirement appointment as ombudsmen, members of Public Service Commissions, etc.”

According to TIP, Rashid’s summary also violated the Rules of Business which stipulate that the summary must contain the dates of birth of the candidates recommended, among other relevant details, to indicate whether any of them would attain the age of superannuation before the tenure of the post expires.

COMMENTS (9)

Naseer ahmad | 7 years ago | Reply

While PIO of Press Information Department, Mr Rasheed introduced the culture of commission on Govt,s advertisement and discouraged professional competence in the Press Information Department and made it entirely dependent on APP with regards publicity matters of the government. At last he met his Karma.

Muslim Leaguer | 7 years ago | Reply

This is an excellent decision to get rid of a cahoot appointed illegally against such an important place. The PPP regime, followed by Dictator Musharraf's regime, has been mired with cronyism, nepotism and illegal appointments in every department. We hope that the pseudo-intellectual trolls of PTI will not poke in to protect another crony of PPP.

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