A writ petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Absar Alam for not implementing the order of the LHC in letter and spirit. The petition was filed through senior advocate Azhar Siddique who contended that LHC’s order to Pemra to ensure Pemra Ordinance 2002, Pemra Rules, 2009 and the Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015 was not complied.

He submitted that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif delivered a speech against the judiciary in the lawyers convention, but Pemra chairman did nothing to stop airing it.

He contended that the former PM’s speech is a clear cut contempt of court and the Pemra chairman is rendering the role of Sharif’s facilitator.

The petitioner submitted that the order was communicated and duly served to the Pemra office as well as the office of the Council of Complaint through ordinary modes. The Pemra has admitted this fact that the said order was received by it, but the concerned authorities did not comply with the order and subsequently Sharif made a contemptuous, derogatory and seditious speech on August 25, 2017 and all the media channels showed the derogatory speech, in which allegations were levelled against the judges of the Supreme Court.

After receiving the order on August 24, 2017, the Pemra chairman did not take any kind of measure to comply with the said order and an impugned notification on August 25, 2017 was issued stating all major news channels had misreported the order of LHC with respect to Writ Petition No 62459/17 titled ‘Amna Malik vs Federation of Pakistan & Others’.

The petitioner also submitted that in the said advice notification it was also alleged that the LHC had also shown its displeasure over misreporting by the media. He implored the court that infecting the impugned advice notification is a contempt of court as well as an attempt to control the media channels in favour of Sharif and against the judiciary.

It is pertinent to mention that Civil Society Network Pakistan member Amna, in her petition, had made 26 respondents, including Sharif, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and federal and state ministers Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyam Aurangzeb, Talal Chaudhary, Mohsin Ranja, Abid Sher Ali, Maiza Hameed and Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

The respondents also included Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, former information minister Pervaiz Rasheed, Senator Syed Asif Saeed Kirmani, NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Election Commission of Pakistan, speakers of the National and Punjab assemblies and Pemra.

The petitioner’s counsel Siddique had submitted that the ECP failed to exercise its jurisdiction which was “bad in law”, especially in view of the constitutional provisions and relevant laws of Senate, National Assembly and provincial assemblies.

He asserted that it was a legal obligation of the ECP to enforce Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and to protect the institutions.

He prayed the court to order ECP to take up the case of disqualification of above parliamentarians if the court believed that it was the ECP that should adjudicate the matter instead of it. –Courtesy The Express Tribune


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