Sacked Pemra chief to challenge his dismissal


ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Rashid, who was recently dismissed as chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), has decided to challenge his removal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). “We are filing a petition in the IHC on Monday to challenge illegal dismissal of Chaudhry Rashid,” his lawyer Hafiz Arafat Ahmed said on Sunday. Mr Rashid had been appointed as Pemra chairman on Jan 26 last year by the PPP government and was dismissed by President Mamnoon Hussain on April 17.

A tug of war between Chaudhry Rashid and the government surfaced soon after it came into power and started removing the chiefs of several organisations who had been appointed during the PPP’s rule.

“Dismissal is the worst kind of sacking of any government official as it stigmatises the victim in a way that he cannot serve in any public office in future and is deprived of benefits which a government official avails after leaving public office,” the lawyer said.

The petition says that Mr Rashid was serving as Pemra chairman after retirement from grade 22, while the rules applied for his dismissal only applied on serving government officials and not on the retired one.

“Chaudhry Rashid was served show-cause notice under Efficiency and Services Rules, 1973 which only apply on civil servants,” the lawyer said.

The petition says that the former Pemra chairman had not been given a chance to clear himself of charges levelled against him.

The lawyer said that apparently the government wanted to appoint a man of its choice as chairman and it had terminated Mr Rashid’s service on Dec 15 and appointed another Pemra officer, Rao Tehsin Khan, as acting chairman.

Mr Rashid went to the IHC the following day and the court granted a stay against his removal and nullified the appointment of acting chairman. It said due procedure had not been adopted for his sacking that required issuance of a show-cause notice and a charge sheet explaining why his service was being terminated.

According to sources in Pemra, soon after the court gave him relief, the government issued a show-cause notice and a charge sheet to “to meet the instructions of the high court”.

Although the court had allowed him to continue to work as Pemra chairman, the government snatched all his powers and formed a three-member committee to run the affairs of the authority.

On this, the lawyers of Chaudhry Rashid again filed a petition in the IHC and complained that his powers had been withdrawn and he had been ‘illegally’ stopped from performing his official duties. The decision on this petition is yet to be announced.

In the charge sheet issued to Mr Rashid, he was accused of illegally giving landing rights to some private TV channels and committing other acts of corruption. He refuted the allegations.