ISLAMABAD: Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan of the Islamabad High Court will take up on Monday a petition filed by Chaudhry Rasheed who has challenged his removal as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
Chaudhry Rashid was appointed Pemra chairman on Jan 26 last year by the PPP government and he was dismissed by the PML-N government on April 17 this year.
The case has become significant against the backdrop of an application filed with Pemra against the Geo/Jang group for what the government called defaming a national institute.
The sacked Pemra chief challenged his removal in the high court on Wednesday and termed his dismissal illegal and unconstitutional.
He urged the court to cancel the notification of his removal.
His lawyer Arfat Ahmed told Dawn that he would plead before the court to order the government to take back his client’s removal order.
“The Pemra chairman cannot be removed, except for misconduct, before the end of his tenure of four years. There was no mention of any misdoing by Chaudhry Rashid in his removal order.”
Chaudhry Rashid, appointed as Pemra chairman after his retirement in Grade-22, has been accused by the government of committing corruption and irregularities.
“Chaudhry Rashid was served a show-cause notice under the Efficiency and Services Rules, 1973, which apply only on civil servants,” the lawyer said.
He said his client had been removed twice because the government apparently wanted to appoint its ‘own’ man as Pemra chairman.
Earlier, Chaudhry Rashid was terminated on Dec 15 last year and was restored by the IHC.
On Wednesday, Pemra formed a three-member committee to investigate charges levelled by the defence ministry against Geo TV for allegedly “maligning the premier spy agency of the country and harming the national interest” in its coverage of an attack on senior journalist Hamid Mir.
But legal experts believe that Pemra cannot adjudicate on such applications as the post of Pemra chairman has been vacant.
Pemra consists of a chairman and 12 members. In the absence of the chairman, the authority could not legally take major decisions, including suspension and cancellation of a TV channel’s licence.
In the absence of the chairman, the authority’s affairs are being managed by a three-member committee, but its validity has already been challenged in the IHC.