PM’s ‘assurance’ to Awan: PTV MD likely to be removed
By: Zulqernain Tahir
LAHORE: PTV Managing Director Yousuf Baig Mirza may be shown the door after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s assurance to Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan on installing the team of her choice.
A sobbing Ms Ashiq had on Sunday, in a cabinet meeting in Karachi, offered her resignation complaining that “interference and hurdles” were being created (by PPP leaders and bureaucracy) in the smooth functioning of her ministry. The prime minister refused to accept her resignation and assured her that her grievances would be redressed.
As the controversy hit the headlines, the names of PPP Central Information Secretary Qamaruz Zaman (whom Ms Awan replaced) and Mr Mirza surfaced in ‘political and bureaucratic’ fronts, respectively.
“Gilani has given a go-ahead to find a suitable replacement of the PTV managing director while Mr Kaira has been conveyed not to bother her further with regard to interference in her ministry,” a source in the prime minister secretariat told Dawn on Monday. He said Ms Awan was determined in her meeting with the prime minister either to ‘empower her or accept her resignation’. “Now you will see a major wave of reshuffle in the departments under the information ministry,” he said.
Ms Awan told Dawn that the prime minister had assured her of redressing her grievances with regard to “full control over the ministry”. “I have full backing of my leadership and the premier has assured me of installing a team of my choice,” she said.
She said step by step she would bring in replacements and other required changes in the ministry for the improvement of its working.
To a question, Ms Awan denied a row with Mr Mirza for not accommodating in the PTV the people she recommended. “This is not the issue rather I want to bring about changes in the PTV so that it can compete with private channels besides generating a handsome revenue,” she said. The PTV incumbent management is accused of hiring a good number of employees without following the merit.
When contacted, Mr Mirza declined to comment.
On the other hand Mr Kaira dismissed reports of alleged interference in Ms Awan’s ministry. “I never interfered in Firdous Ashiq Awan’s ministry and why should I. I headed four ministries and once I quit them I never bothered to interfere in their matters,” the former information minister told Dawn.
He said Ms Ashiq was the minister of his party and he would like to see her perform well as it was in the best interest of the PPP. “She is my colleague and she has no issue with me,” he said.
Mr Kaira however refused to comment on the performance of Ms Ashiq. “No comments,” was his reply to a question in this regard.
A source in the ministry said Ms Awan might not be featuring in the talk shows as per new understanding with the leadership.
Besides, it said a powerful media group had long been lobbying against Mr Mirza for depriving it rights to show cricket matches. “It seems the media group is finally going to get him,” the source said.