ISLAMABAD - A division bench (DB) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday served notice on the Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Chaudhry Rasheed Ahmed in an Intra-Court Appeal (ICA) of the government against his restoration by a single bench of IHC.

The DB comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also sought reply from him within a fortnight on an ICA seeking suspension of the orders of the single-member bench which restored Chaudhary Rasheed as chairman PEMRA.

It was on December 16 when the single bench comprising Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan ordered the restoration of Rasheed suspending a notification, issued by the establishment division for his removal from the post.

During the course of hearing, Hafiz S A Rehman, counsel for the Federation, apprised the bench that Rasheed had not come to the court with clean hand as he had concealed the actual facts. He argued that Rasheed was removed on December 16 through a notification while the petition was drafted and filed and fixed on the same day. "Even the interim order on the suspension of the notification was also announced the same day," he added. Rehman pointed out that even the petitioner had not attached the notification of his removal along with the petition.

He maintained that the respondent Rasheed was guilty of misconduct when summary of chairman PEMRA with the signature of Rasheed was moved by himself through the establishment division while he was performing the duties of the secretary information and broadcasting. At that time, establishment division had opined that Rasheed was not eligible to be appointed as PEMRA head, he added.

"Despite the fact that establishment division had objected over the summary, it was approved," Advocate SA Rehman further told the court.

The counsel said that he got his summary approved from the then Prime Minister and President, detaching the establishment division's summary from his file. He also argued that the appointment of Rasheed was also in violation of Section 10 of PEMRA Ordinance 2002 that forbids the chairman of engaging in any other employment.

It is pertinent to mention here that former secretary information and broadcasting Chaudhry Rasheed Ahmad was appointed as chairman PEMRA on January 26, 2013 by the former Pakistan Peoples Party government. The federal government terminated his contract and appointed one Tehsin Ali Khan an executive member PEMRA as acting chairman.

Rasheed while challenging his termination before the IHC had adopted that he was appointed as PEMRA chairman when the petition of former acting chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar was pending before the apex Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Former government then told the court that it has initiated a process for the appointment of a suitable person to head the regulatory authority.

He stated that following proper procedure then federal minister for information and broadcasting finalised three names those were Dr Abdul Jabbar, Ghulam Murtaza Solangi and Ch Rashid Ahmed and a summary was forwarded to the prime minister to make a selection out of three. The Prime Minister then approved Ch Rasheed and former President Asif Ali Zardari appointed him to the slot. The counsel for Rasheed, Barrister Sajjad, had told the court his client belonged to the information group and his entire career was based on interaction with the media people.

He further argued that the post of chairman PEMRA has been a tenure post of four years and under section 6 of the PEMRA ordinance 2002, a head of this authority could only be removed for moral or physical incapacity to hold the office.

Barrister Sajjad told the court that his client was neither given any show cause notice nor was provided opportunity for hearing his point of view before terminating the contract of his appointment.

The petitioner had prayed to the court to set aside his termination notification and also the appointment notification of Tehsin Ali Khan as null and void. The court while accepting his prayed disposed of the matter.