Ban on entry of official in PTV withdrawn -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ban on entry of official in PTV withdrawn

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising move, the state-run PTV administration banned the entry of its director current affairs Agha Masood Shorish into his office but lifted it within a few hours.

PTV director administration and personnel Abdul Rashid on December 9 issued a letter stating: “With immediate effect and until further orders, Agha Masood Shorish will not enter in the premises of PTV HQrs office/PTV News, Islamabad. He may remain available at his residence for any call of duty. This issued with the approval of the competent authority.”

Besides Mr Shorish, the letter was forwarded to the PTV chairperson, personal staff officer to the managing director and the director security. But after a few hours, the same director administration withdrew the order.

Another letter issued with the signature of Mr Rashid said: “The order regarding non-entry of Agha Masood Shorish in the premises of PTV News/PTV HQrs is hereby cancelled and withdrawn in toto.”

Sources in the PTV said Mr Shorish was facing two complaints filed by women anchorpersons and an inquiry against him was underway when the PTV administration banned his entry into the premises.

Mr Shorish, 62, has been working as the director current affairs in the PTV for over 13 years. He is said to be enjoying close friendship with senior politicians of the ruling as well as opposition parties. The sources said soon after the PTV administration imposed the ban, a federal minister and a senior official at the Prime Minister House forced the PTV administration to withdraw the order.

About a dozen senior producers had challenged the appointment of Mr Shorish in Islamabad High Court (IHC) in November last year. The petitioners had maintained that after attaining the age of superannuation, Mr Shorish should not remain in service. Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani reserved judgment on the petition on November 23, 2016.

PTV spokesperson Sohail Bokhari could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.

Mr Shorish, however, told Dawn that the PTV administration had erroneously issued the order and withdrew it promptly. He denied using his influence or connection for the cancellation of the ban.

He claimed that a lobby within the PTV was using certain anchorpersons to remove him from the post.

“I had offered the administration to proceed on the complaints and decide them as soon as possible. In case they found me guilty, I am ready to bear the consequences otherwise the complainants should be given an exemplary punishment.”

This is the second high-profile case in the PTV in which female anchorpersons leveled charges of harassments against head of departments.

In October, the federal ombudsperson against harassment of women at workplace censured the PTV director news, Athar Farooq Buttar, after six women anchorpersons filed a complaint against him. The PTV administration posted Mr Buttar to the headquarters as coordinator VVIP coverage after the decision of ombudspersons.