ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday granted 10 days’ time to the 19 institutions which claim that their finances/accounts are not subject to audit by the auditor general of Pakistan.

Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammad Alizai contended that all the institutions wanted to engage separate counsels to represent them in the Supreme Court. Justice Gulzar remarked that till to date all the institutions should have filed their replies. The court was told that so far only two institutions had submitted replies.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed, was hearing an application moved by TV anchorpersons, Hamid Mir and Absar Alam.

The commission was appointed by the apex court on January 15 this year in response to the petitions filed by the anchorpersons seeking disclosure of the names of the beneficiaries of secret funds of the information ministry. The report, along with recommendations, was submitted to the court on July 3.

Hamid Mir said Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had levelled a serious allegation the evidence of which should be shared with the Supreme Court. Absar Alam said the regulatory authority had made highly objectionable assertions.

According to Media Commission, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) officials, including its chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed, Executive Director Dr Abdul Jabbar, DG Licensing Ashfaq Jumani, GM Legal Nasir Ahmed and Secretary Suhail Ahmed had accused a media group of receiving 20 million pounds from India for sponsorship its programmes.

The Pemra denied levelling the allegation against the media house. Zulfikar Maluka, counsel for Pemra, said: “We categorically deny this charge and have even contacted top bosses of the media house to satisfy them.” He submitted a copy of the Pemra officials’ statements denying the allegation.

Justice Gulzar said they were the least concerned with whether the programmes were foreign-funded or NGO-sponsored, but they would examine whether the law was violated or not. Justice Ijaz, however, said if the allegation that the anchorpersons were hosting India-sponsored programmes had damaged their credibility, then it was a serious matter.

Asad Kharral, another petitioner, told the court that in May this year NAB had issued a notice to Pemra Chairman Chaudhry Rashid Ahmed in a corruption case, while in 2010, Federal Investigation Agency had registered an FIR (30/2010) against him in the same case.

The court, before adjourning the case till 26th August, asked the petitioners of the media house that they could file their replies within 10 days if they wanted to do so.

LAWYER QUITS LHCBA

REFERENCE DRAFT BODY

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: An advocate, Waqar Hassan Mir, has disassociated himself from the reference draft committee constituted by the Lahore High Court Bar Association to file a reference against Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and two other judges of the superior judiciary for changing schedule of the presidential election on PML-N’s petition.

The LHCBA on July 30 constituted the six-member committee and nominated six lawyers, Dr Khalid Ranjha, Senator Kazim Khan, Saiful Malook, Waqar Hassan Mir, Shaukat Umar Pirzada and Mirza Nisar Ahmad.

Advocate Waqar Hassan Mir conveyed his decision to LHCBA President Abid Saqi that he was no more a member of the committee. In his letter, Waqar said he had smelt the motives behind the move and his name was included in the committee only to manipulate the motives.

He said the general house had no mandate to file the reference against the judges of the superior judiciary. He said he was never conveyed about the meeting for preparing the recommendations for reference.

On the other side, the legal circles said the LHCBA committee had become controversial after the disassociation of Waqar Hassain Mir.