Lahore High Court, in a detailed decision today, termed the recently held DTH auction as void and asked PEMRA to re-start the entire DTH bidding process, starting from inviting new applications.
Decision was primarily based on voiding a section in DTH bidding through which broadcasters (Geo, ARY etc.) were disallowed from participating in the auction.
With this new court order, broadcasters will also be allowed to take part in DTH bidding.
PEMRA had earlier said that broadcasters won’t be given any DTH licenses since it will be a conflict of interest. Lahore High Court, however, decided otherwise and said that broadcasters should be allowed to participate in DTH bidding.
It must be mentioned here that three companies — including one Chinese company — had won the DTH license for 15 years against a license fee of Rs. 4.898 billion per license.
With this new order, if not challenged in Supreme Court, PEMRA will have to start the bidding process from scratch again.
It must be recalled that DTH bidding was originally planned for December 2015, but it was delayed several times and eventually an auction was held on November 23rd, 2016.
Even then Supreme Court had conditionally allowed the auction since Lahore High Court was hearing the case and had issued a stay order on auction.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they are made available.