–Orders Qasmi, ex-info minister Pervaiz Rasheed, ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar and ex-principal secy to PM Fawad Hassan Fawad to pay back Rs190.78m
–Imposes restriction on Qasmi’s appointment as head of any state institution
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday declared the appointment of Attaul Haq Qasmi as Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) managing director (MD) and the financial perks received by him during his tenure illegal.
Qasmi, formerly the chairman of PTV, had appointed himself as MD in 2017, sparking controversy.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar heard the case in which the top court had reserved its judgement in July.
A short order read by Justice Umar Atta Bandial also held former information minister Pervez Rashid, former finance minister Ishaq Dar as well as former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad responsible for the financial and authority-related perks enjoyed by the former chairman.
In the 48-page judgement authored by the chief justice, the top court has pointed out irregularities and violation of rules in Qasmi’s appointment.
According to the judgement, the national exchequer suffered a loss amounting to Rs190 million in the form of Qasmi’s paycheck and other perks.
The accused in the case have been charged with financial compensation, 50% of which will be paid by Qasmi, 20% by each of the former ministers and the former principal secretary to the premier will have to submit 10% of the Rs190.78 million.
“Qasmi’s attitude was unacceptable and he should not be appointed on any such post in the future,” the judgment asserted.
The bench noted that Qasmi’s appointment as chairman of the state broadcaster also violated the upper age limit of 65 years, and the former government had moved summaries to relax the rules.
“He was given a handsome salary package of Rs1,500,000 in addition to other perks and a sum of Rs284,163,733 was paid to [Qasmi] and/or expense incurred by him or on his behalf”.
Holding the “illegal appointment” responsible for PTV’s decline in finances and reputation, the verdict added that Qasmi had lacked the skill and expertise needed for a running a company.
The judgment added that PTV is a public sector entity and hence appointments made in the government-run institution were open to the appropriate jurisdiction.
It was also mentioned that additional attorney journal had informed the court during court proceedings that PTV’s chairman is elected by its board and is out of the mandate of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.
In defence, Qasmi’s counsel had argued that the appointment had been made by the federal government as it saw fit at the relevant time and “the Court has no jurisdiction to interfere with such discretion/ decision-making power”.
Urdu columnist, playwright and poet Qasmi, who was appointed as PTV’s chairman in 2015, went ahead and appointed himself as the state TV’s MD in 2017, in violation of rules.
The additional attorney general and information secretary had informed the court that Qasmi had reportedly received a total of Rs278 million in salaries and advertising cuts during his two-year stint at the state-run TV channel.