Former chairman of Pakistan Television (PTV) Ataul Haq Qasmi on Wednesday lashed out at Marriyum Aurangzeb, who served as information minister in the last government, for cases against him that eventually led to his removal from the post.
Qasmi said that the information ministry used to frequently meddle in the affairs of the PTV while he wanted to make the channel function independently as per the wishes of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The renowned author added that interference in the ministry forced him to eventually resign a year before his contract was to end.
A case was lodged against him merely after 15 to 20 days after he quit PTV, he said.
“Marriyum Aurangzeb is a liar and is honest with noone. She made a fake case against me,” he said.
The former PTV chairman lamented that when nothing was found against him, a case was lodged regarding the budget of a TV show he introduced.
He also blamed some “behind-the-scene” people involved in mudslinging against him, and said he informed Nawaz about them in his resignation.
He also claimed that certain people wanted to set Nawaz up but former information minister Pervaiz Rasheed took the blame upon him and saved the ex-PM.
“I will go to jail if my appeal [in court] is reject. You can send a 70-year-old person to jail if you want,” he lamented.
The Supreme Court early last month declared Qasmi’s appointment and the perks granted to him as illegal.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a case pertaining to Qasmi’s appointment as managing director as well as the amount of salary and perks he received both as chairman and MD of the state-run TV. The court had reserved its judgment on the case in July this year.
As per the judgement, over Rs190 million were spent in the form of salaries and perks granted to Qasmi. Ordering that the amount spent on the former MD and chairman of PTV be returned by those involved in the illegal appointment, the bench said, “Qasmi will pay 50% of the amount, while the former ministers will pay 20% each and the former principal secretary to the premier will have to submit 10% of the Rs190.78 million.”
Qasmi, a noted author and playwright, was appointed the chairman of PTV in 2015 but in April 2017, appointed himself the MD as well, sparking controversy.
The court was informed by the additional attorney general and information secretary that Qasmi had reportedly received a total of Rs278 million in salaries and advertising cuts during his two-year stint at the state TV channel.
Qasmi, a recipient of the Pride of Performance Award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz, had denied any wrongdoing.