Musical chairs : What a mess has been created! -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Musical chairs : What a mess has been created!

Pakistan Press Foundation

It is most unfortunate to witness a cobweb of conspiracies surrounding one of the most well established state institutions. But what is even more frustrating is the fact that those who orchestrated this game are happily reaping the fruit of their schemes, after making flagrant use of the judiciary to their advantage and blatantly bending the laws.

On the face of it, things look very simple. For anyone who sees the news in passing, it is regarded as business as usual but it is the beneficiaries of these wicked conspiracies who have gained massive commercial benefits.

It started with the appointment of caretaker set-up. A choice, dubbed as the masterstroke of an adroit political chess master Mr Asif Ali Zardari. The interim set-up with his pawns was thought of as his prime move. Nevertheless, while every political pundit was busy admiring the then president’s political acumen, they seemed to overlook the remarkable ability of PML-N leadership in striking the most unlikely of deals. Little did they know that the perfect combination of PML-N leadership and the caretakers worked out in favour of both; in a blind spot where neither Zardari nor Imran Khan nor Chaudhrys could figure out PML-N’s perfectly timed move to ‘check-mate’.

A masterstroke struck with ample support from Pakistan’s leading media house. Every piece was moved carefully. And finally a pre-mature victory speech was made with less than half the election results in.

And then came the time for the next move.

Punjab’s interim chief was placed in the top slot at PCB, with a strange contract that allowed him to simultaneously stay in the employment of a leading media house, which was also an important stakeholder in the events that followed. The unwanted elements were quickly removed by misleading the judiciary and hatching some more devious plans.

The objective of all this scheming came down to one point: reviving a dead sports channel owned by the very same media house that had PCB chairman on its payroll. The malevolent plan of misleading the judiciary came through and the head honcho of the state TV was shown the door by the Islamabad High court; a plot, also engineered by that same media house for which the PTV head became absolutely unbearable having secured broadcasting rights of every high profile event for the state channel, barely leaving the scraps for the sports channel of this private media house.

The removal of MD PTV did more than just causing chaos in the state run television network. It shattered the financial situation, adversely affecting revenues. As reported by an insider, revenues took a sharp decline, plummeting to less than half.

PTV’s present management is seemingly subservient to the dictation of those with vested interests. The final outcome of this web of conspiracies ripened a few months ago when PCB awarded its broadcasting rights to two rival channels of PTV. One of them owned by Indians and the other by a local private channel. To everyone’s surprise, PTV did not lose the bid to better contenders. They just never entered the competition. To date, it remains unclear whether the state run terrestrial as well as C&S channel was dictated not to bid or just exhibited their incompetence while getting badly exposed.

The deal was very cleverly crafted to the whims of these private networks. First, PCB was asked not to offer five-year broadcasting rights, as has been the normal practice in the past. Instead the rights were offered for six months, and that too comprising of two series: one with SA and the other with SL which are to be played in Dubai. PCB obliged. Next, the government was approached and persuaded to not let the state channel enter the bid; leaving the only two private networks in the race. Government also complied with the wishes of this strong cartel. This cartel of two private networks and PCB worked out perfectly awarding the broadcasting rights of one series each to Indian-owned private network and that Pakistani network putting the state channel on the mercy of these private networks.

Hence culminated, the first phase of this game of Musical Chairs. What is beyond comprehension is the fact that Ministry of information and PTV made a mockery of the decree passed by Islamabad high court. After the removal of MD PTV, the deadline given by IHC for the appointment of the new MD was initially May 10 which then got extended till the end of May. As of now where we are entering the final week of September, no appointment has yet been made. From the looks of it, one can now expect some progress as regards the appointment of a permanent MD, since the initial purpose of placing the existing set-up has finally been achieved i.e. not to let PTV enter a bid that would have brought huge revenues for PTV and damaged the private networks even more.

Daily Times