LHC orders new PTA head’s appointment in 30 days

LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Thursday gave 30 days to the federal government to appoint a new chairman of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, directing it to ensure merit and transparency in this regard.

Justice Shahid Karim issued the order on the petition moved by Sheraz Zaka, challenging appointment of PTA Chairman Syed Ismail Shah.

On Monday, Pemra Chairman Absar Alam was sent packing after his appointment was found illegal.

During the proceedings on Thursday, a federal law officer assured the court that the federal government would complete the process within 30 days. He also submitted advertisement for the new appointment of the PTA chairman before the Lahore High Court.

Sheraz Zaka, the petitioner’s counsel, argued that the term of Syed Ismail Shah had expired for he had been appointed for four years as mentioned in Section 3 of Pakistan Telecommunications Authority Act, 1996. He submitted that Ismail Shah had been given unlawful extension. He said the federal government was supposed to appoint a new chairman under the law on the expiry of the four-year term through advertisement and adopting transparent process, but it did not issue any advertisement for fresh recruitment; instead it gave extension to Ismail Shah, which was illegal.

He prayed to the court to declare appointment of PTA Chairman Ismail Shah as illegal. The court disposed of the petition, directing the federal government to appoint a new PTA chairman on merit within 30 days.

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