Islamabad: Absar Alam, the newly appointed Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) since taking the charge of his office on December 01, 2015, chaired the first meeting of the Authority here today

Overall this was the 107th meeting of PEMRA Authority, according to press release issued by the authority.

Chairman PEMRA in his maiden meeting welcomed all the Authority members and pledged to evolve PEMRA as a vibrant and effective regulator in all essence. He said that he believes in Freedom of Expression and Speech as enshrined in the Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan and would, therefore, prefer consultative approach to take along all stakeholders so that the impending challenges, regulatory / tariff issues etc could amicably be addressed consensually. At the same time, there would be no compromise on writ of the Authority. Chairman said that PEMRA should not be perceived as some kind of martinet, imposing arbitrary sanctions on media

Amongst other agendas, a very important and ongoing DTH project also came under threadbare discussion. The Chairman asked the Authority Members that he has been entrusted the charge of PEMRA at the time when besides other challenges and required initiatives, PEMRA is going to commence the biggest and most significant project of its history i.e. Direct to Home (DTH) project which involves multi-million dollars of investments and revenues.

He said that he has hardly spent few hours as the Chairman in PEMRA but he is being asked to follow the bidding time line of December 7, 2015 for the DTH.

He said that how he can be able to take any decision / position on such an important and significant project unless he does not know or is briefed about the project, its committee, criteria, procedures, guidelines and other important legal matters.

Therefore, in order to address these issues and to eschew foreseeable legal complications, he requested the Authority that the scheduled bidding may be delayed to fully understand the project.

The matter was also discussed with the law experts present in the meeting including the Secretary Ministry of Law, Justice (R) Raza Khan, Former Judge High Court, Justice (R) Ijaz Ahmed Ch. and Mr. Ali Shah Gilani, Advocate High Court.

The Authority postponed the bidding scheduled to be held on Monday, December 7, 2015 for grant of DTH Licenses. Further decision in the matter shall be taken in its next meeting.

The Authority directed to prepare a detailed working paper for consideration of the Authority keeping in view all legal aspects and security issues regarding the DTH project. PEMRA expressed its resolve to complete the DTH process at the earliest without compromising on law in a transparent and fair manner. It was resolved that all possible measures shall be taken to ensure transparency.

Besides the Chairman PEMRA Mr. Absar Alam, Executive Member PEMRA Mr. Kamal Uddin Tipu, Secretary Ministry of Information Broadcasting & National Heritage Ms. Saba Mohsin Raza, Secretary Ministry of Interior Shahid Khan, Chairman PTA Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman FBR Mr. Nisar Mohammad Khan, Mr. Ashraff Gujjar, Ms. Nargis Nasir, Ms. Shaheen Habibullah and Mr. Nasir Jamal DG Internal Publicity Ministry of Information were also present in the meeting.