ISLAMABAD: A petition filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday claimed President Arif Alvi, in violation of the prime minister’s advice, had withheld a summary for the appointment of a regulator for print media, a position which has been vacant since July 2019.

Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir issued notices to the secretaries of the President House, Prime Minister’s Office, Establishment Division and sought their reply in two weeks.

The last PCP chairman, Salahuddin Mengal, completed his three-year tenure in July 2019. The process to appoint another chairman was initiated by the PTI government, but remained inconclusive.

The PDM government, too, had finalised names and the pay scale for the slot of PCP chairman. Former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb approved a summary on Nov 1 last year and forwarded the names of three shortlisted candidates, along with the selection board’s assessment, to the PM Office.

The three names were: Arshad Khan Jadoon, Mohammad Akram Khaksar and Dr G.M. Chaudhry, all of them lawyers.

The board awarded 295 marks to Mr Jadoon, 278 to Mr Khaksar and 267 to Dr Chaudhry. The petition was filed by Arshad Khan Jadoon through his counsel, Barrister Jahangir Khan Jadoon.

It said former PM Shehbaz Sharif had approved Mr Jadoon’s name and forwarded it to President Dr Arif Alvi.

But the resident decided to interview the candidates first, the petitioner said. The summary was returned to the PM Office and Shehbaz Sharif approved Mr Jadoon for the post.

According to the petitioner, President Alvi withheld the summary without assigning any reason.

The petitioner said he had served as chairman of the Implementation Tribunal of Newspapers Employees for two years and as deputy attorney general in 2015.

“It is a principle of law that an appointing authority does not have unfettered, unbridled, unregulated and biased discretion and in this particular case, the President ignored the advice of the PM, and discarded the entire selection exercise on a mere whim,” Mr Jadoon said.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2023

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