ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has enforced an order against the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), recovering a penalty of PKR 5 million imposed for anti-competitive conduct.

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) filed a complaint with CCP, wherein it was alleged that Regulations and Circulars formulated by APNS were in violation of section 4 of the Competition Act, 2010. The CCP’s enquiry inter alia established that APNS had imposed restrictive trading conditions, and certain rules, regulations, and circulars enforced by APNS were in contravention of the Act.

On 6 June 2018, CCP passed an order and held that APNS had engaged in anti-competitive activities such as applying unfair trading conditions and imposing dissimilar conditions on equivalent transactions with other trading parties through its circulars, rules, and regulations. CCP recognized APNS’s cooperation and compliance-orientated approach as the mitigating factor and imposed a penalty of only PKR 10 million.

The CCP’s order also nullified all such circulars, rules, and regulations and directed APNS to formulate new ones and seek exemption from the CCP under Section 5 of the Competition Act. Additionally, the order stipulated that failure to comply would result in an additional penalty of PKR 25 million and a daily penalty of PKR 100,000.

APNS appealed the CCP’s order before the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT). After a detailed hearing, the Tribunal partially allowed the appeal by reducing the penalty to PKR 5 million. The CAT further directed APNS to submit its amended circulars, rules, and regulations to the CCP within one month. The Tribunal also held that the additional penalty of PKR 25 million and the daily penalty would not apply if the CCP endorsed the amended rules and regulations within 60 days.