ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist and former Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Absar Alam has stated that he will not compromise on his fundamental rights despite the various coercive tactics used by the government.
Speaking to The Pakistan Daily after receiving a notice from DG Finance PEMRA demanding the return of the salary, Absar Alam held that the notice was sent with a mala fide intent.
“The letter has been sent with a mala fide intent because I speak freely and ask questions. They lodged treason cases against me, they made cyber crime cases.. then they shot me, however the ones who tried to kill me were never found,” Absar Alam told The Pakistan Daily in an exclusive conversation.
“They are harassing me using every method. Media houses are under pressure not to publish my articles or let me participate in current affairs shows or do any management job. Despite the assassination attempts, false cases and economic strangulation and an unannounced ban on me to appear on TV or write for newspapers, I will continue to exercise my right to speak and ask questions of the people running this hybrid regime. I am speaking the truth according to the rights granted by Article 19 of the Constitution of Pakistan,” Absar said.
On 31st December 2021, DG Finance PEMRA, Mr Shamim Gul Durrani had sent a notice to Absar Alam demanding an amount upwards of 50 million the latter received as salary during his tenure as Chairman PEMRA.
Pointing out the mala fide intent, Absar Alam highlighted that around 15 million rupees which were deducted in taxes were also being demanded back, reflecting the illegality of the notice.
Absar Alam also mentioned that prior to his removal two former Chairmen of PEMRA were removed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan but no government ever demanded the return of their salary.
In a written response to Durrani, Absar Alam said that he had appealed against the judgement of the Lahore High Court in W.P. 38449 and that the appeal is pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“The letter sent by DG Finance is not only contempt of the Lahore High Court (which did not issue any such order) but also the Supreme Court of Pakistan where the appeal is pending,” Absar told this correspondent in a telephonic conversation.
Absar Alam noted that the pressure tactics being used against him served two purposes; to pressurise him into silence and also to divert the attention of the public from growing inflation and the mini budget which also contribute to rising prices.
“I only use Twitter, I don’t have a TV channel or a news paper, they can’t even tolerate that? I will continue exercising my rights and asking questions regardless of these tactics,” Absar Alam said.