ISLAMABAD: Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday ordered for maintaining till June 17 status quo in the affairs of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
Justice Qureshi decided to hold joint hearing of all petitions filed in the IHC on the Pemra issue on the said date when the court would take a decision about the appointment of Pervez Rathore as acting chairman of the authority.
The court issued the directives on a petition filed by two private members of Pemra against the appointment of Mr Rathore.
A day after his appointment as acting chairman on June 5, Mr Rathore ordered suspension of Geo News for 15 days and imposition of Rs100 million fine for ‘defaming’ the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence.
The court will take joint hearing of all petitions on Pemra issue
Earlier, show-cause notices were issued to the private members, Israr Abbasi and Fareeha Iftikhar, after they had announced on May 20 suspension of licences of three television channels owned by the Geo TV network. But Pemra’s executive member Kamaluddin Tipu disassociated himself from the announcement.
The petitioners pointed out that there was no provision of appointment of acting chairman in the Pemra ordinance, 2002.
They said the previous government had appointed Dr Abdul Jabbar as acting chairman of Pemra but in 2012 the Supreme Court set aside the appointment and observed that “it is to be noted that Pemra ordinance does not provide for the position of acting chairman”.
On May 26, the same court had suspended show-cause notices issued to the private members and a notification about appointment of Kamaluddin Tipu as member of Pemra’s executive body.
Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar who represented the federal government told Dawn that the court did not stop Mr Rathore from working as Pemra’s acting chairman.
He said that after the court’s order for maintaining the status quo things would remain the same as of Monday (June 9) till June 17.
According to him, Mr Rathore is working as Pemra’s acting chairman and the court did not accept the plea of the petitioners for restraining him from functioning.