PEMRA chairman served show-cause notice

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Committee orders Ahmed to reply to allegations levelled against him with in seven days

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory (PEMRA) Chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed on Friday received show-cause notice, seeking his viewpoint on allegations against him.

Earlier on Thursday night when Kohsar Police SHO Hakim Khan visited his residence to deliver the notice, but Ahmed refused to collect it. Later, he received it in the morning.

The notice has been served by Secretary Interior Shahid Khan who is heading the investigation team formed on the directives of President Mamnoon Hussain to probe irregularities and violation of Supreme Court’s (SC) orders.

The investigation officer has sought record regarding accusations mentioned in show cause from information ministry, PEMRA, FIA and NAB.

Ahmed is bound to clarify his position about the allegations leveled against him within a week.

The notice read the summary for the appointment of PEMRA chairman was put up to him (secretary information and broadcasting) by his subordinate officer Nasir Jamal, director general (IP). However the summary did not mention how the panel of three persons was selected including his (Rashid Ahmad) name. The said note also did not disclose as to how the seven names of serving/retired officers of information group were selected, which were screened and names of three persons were sent for selection of one of them.

The list of serving/retired officers of the Information group annexed with the said note including the names of Secretary Information at top of the list and included names of Yousaf Baig Mirza, MD PTV, Murtaza Solangi, DG, PBC and Dr Abdul Jabbar, executive member PEMRA, were shown as serving officers of the group.

The show cause notice said neither any comparison of the qualifications of the candidates was provided nor was any justification given based on their eligibility and credentials. The summary, the notice said was irreparably defective and discretion exercised by the competent authority on the basis of the said summary cannot be termed proper exercise of discretion as required by the law.

The notice also said that the PEMRA head deliberately violated the Supreme Court order of 15 January, 2013 that stated that the position of Chairman PEMRA has to be filled by a person who fulfills the exceptional and stringent requirements prescribed in the PEMRA Ordinance and not by a casual appointee.

The order further said that 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.

Therefore it said the summary did not fulfill the requirements of rule 15 (2) of the rules of business, 1973 and the appointment was secured on the basis of a deficient, disguised, biased and unlawful summary.

Ahmad has also been charged that he deliberately concealed the applicable disqualifications in the summary, particularly the inherent disqualification associated with his status as serving civil servant and that he did not resign from civil service before or even after his appointment as Chairman PEMRA.

The notice charged that while moving the summary as the information secretary he was also discharging a trust and as fiduciary, responsible for careful observance with the constitution, the relevant laws and the judgments of the Supreme Court.

It said that the comments of the Establishment Division about the requirements of public advertisement of the post were not a part of the summary placed before the Prime Minister. This apparent omission further makes the whole process defective and shows that the Prime Minister was not properly assisted in the decision making.

The other charge in the show cause notice said that Ahmed manipulated the issuance of notification of his appointment as the chairman by the ministry he was heading as secretary.