Qasmi relinquishes post of PTV’s MD
ISLAMABAD: After facing scathing criticism from opposition parties and on social media, the Pakistan Television (PTV) Chairperson Attaul Haq Qasmi on Wednesday relinquished the additional charge of the state-run television’s managing director (MD) – a position he had recently assumed.
Information Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera has taken the acting charge as the PTV’s MD and the process for hiring a permanent person for this position will be started next week. Prior to Qasmi, former information secretary was holding charge of the post.
Qasmi had reportedly called a meeting of the PTV’s board of directors (BoDs) recently and passed a resolution to appoint himself as the MD. However, sources inside the PTV said there was no such formal BoD meeting and the decision was signed by the members through a circular sent to their offices.
Qasmi made over a dozen transfers and postings during this time.
The issue grabbed public attention when Senator Farhatullah Babar made the revelation during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage on April 6.
Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had confirmed the development and said it was done due to absence of an information secretary. “We are reversing the decision,” she had said then.
The post of MD fell vacant on Feb 28, 2016 when tenure of the former MD Mohammad Malik came to an end. Since then the position is vacant and different officials have been holding it temporarily. The Ministry of Information has yet to appoint a permanent MD even after passage of one year.
Author, senior columnist and a loyalist of the ruling PML-N, Attaul Haq Qasmi’s appointment as the PTV chairperson in December 2015 had also stirred a controversy.
Right after the news caught media attention, lawmakers especially from the PTI had submitted a call attention notice with the National Assembly secretariat, claiming that the appointment had caused “grave concerns among the public.”
Separately, the PTI’s active member Andleeb Abbas had also sought details from the information minister about Qasmi’s appointment ‘without merit’ besides other ‘wrongdoings’ in the PTV that caused financial losses during the last few years.
After the news of Qasmi giving up the position of MD went viral, Abbas tweeted: “The first step to making a change is raising your voice, Qasmi removed from his post.”
In reply to a question in Senate on Tuesday, Aurangzeb told the house that the PTV had yet to pay Rs58 million to performing and music artists – including writers at Karachi, Quetta, Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore centres.