CJP questions alleged Rs 270m compensation for former PTV chairman

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday summoned former information minister Pervez Rashid and other officials, demanding to know why former Pakistan Television (PTV) chairman Attaul Haq Qasmi allegedly received over Rs 270 million in salary and employee benefits during his two-year term.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a 2006 petition filed by a producer who worked at PTV, which claimed that the absence of a Managing Director (MD) in the state-run institution had a negative effect on the organisation’s operations.
Qasmi had stirred up controversy in April 2017 when he appointed himself PTV MD. Five days later, he was replaced by Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, who was appointed as acting MD. Sukhera resigned in December last year, saying that it had become “increasingly difficult… to work for the restoration of [the] past glory of PTV”.
According to Sukhera, who appeared before the two-judge bench today, Qasmi received at least Rs 2.7 million every month in salary and other benefits. The former chairman was also allocated an advertising budget for a programme he used to host on PTV.
The large amount of compensation Qasmi allegedly received during his time at PTV caught the eye of Justice Nisar, who observed that the former chairman received at least Rs1m monthly.
“Pakistan is a poor country and this money belongs to taxpayers. How can it be distributed like this?” the CJP asked.
He also questioned the grounds on which Qasmi was appointed as chairman.
Sukhera said that Qasmi was a veteran playwright and author who had contributed to PTV in the past.
He explained that the board of directors had referred Qasmi for the post of chairman and his appointment summary was moved by former additional information secretary Saba Mohsin Raza. The summary was then sent to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif for approval.
The CJP said that he may summon Sharif with regards to his role in the appointment. Formal summons were sent to Qasmi, the prime minister’s principal secretary Fawad Hasan, the secretary of the establishment and the former additional information secretary.