The government has clipped the powers of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman, Chaudhry Rashid Ahmad.
Officials announced that a three-member committee would oversee the affairs of the state institution on Friday, saying the decision was taken in a meeting wherein the committee agreed to strip the chairman of his powers. Members of the committee include Pervez Rathore Abbasi, Israr Abbasi and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Chairman Ismail Shah.
“Under section 13 of the Pemra Act, the authority has decided to withdraw the powers delegated to the chairman and the executive member,” a Pemra spokesperson said, adding the board has “unanimously entrusted its confidence in the committee to dispose of work related to the authority”.
However, he said, the chairman and executive member will retain their positions.
Earlier this week, the Islamabad High Court sought a reply from government officials over a petition filed under Article 199 of the Constitution by the Pemra chairman claiming the government is forcing him to resign. The single-judge IHC bench, comprising Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan issued notices to the secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, director general of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), an executive member of Pemra, and inspector general of police, Islamabad and sought their replies.
The government dismissed the petitioner, Rashid Ahmad, on December 16, 2013 and appointed one of Pemra’s executive members Rao Tehsin in his place. However, the IHC on December 29, 2013 restored the chairman to his former position.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2014.