The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has stopped Pakistan Television (PTV) Chairman Naeem Bukhari from working as the chairman of the national TV, saying the appointment was made in violation of the Supreme Court ruling in a similar case.
During the hearing, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the government has ignored the guidelines set by the SC in a decision pertaining to the posting in the said position. It said there must be a clear reason for relaxing the upper age limit for 65-year-old Naeem.
It had advised the counsel for the PTV chairman to peruse the decision of the top court that had set aside the appointment of Qasmi.
It may be noted that the apex court had declared the appointment of Qasmi illegal in Nov 2018 over loopholes. It had said the government had failed to appoint a full-time managing director in accordance with the law.
During today’s hearing, the IHC CJ said the cabinet did not take a clear decision to relax the age limit for the incumbent chairman. He said the matter will be referred to the federal cabinet so a decision could be taken in light of the SC decision.
At this, the counsel said the cabinet had approved the summary for the appointment of Bukhari. “You should have informed the cabinet about the top court’s decision so that it could have avoided the embarrassment,” the IHC CJ said.
The hearing was adjourned for two weeks.
BUKHARI BECOMES PTV CHAIRMAN:
In November, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had notified Bukhari, who has a vast experience of doing TV programmes, as chairman of PTV. The appointment was made after a court ruling in Sept 2020 declared the appointments of PTV chairman Arshad Khan and independent members of the board of directors illegal while directing the government to fill the vacant slots in accordance with the law.
Bukhari, who has worked as an anchorperson and commentators on PTV for decades, had joined PTI in June 2016. At the time, he called Imran Khan the “only political leader who had the courage to speak the truth”. Bukhari also represented Imran when he went to the Supreme Court against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif following the Panama Papers leak.
The pleas that were later admitted by the apex court which disqualified Nawaz Sharif for being “dishonest” under Article 62 (1)(f).
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had also hired the services of Bukhari as a special prosecutor to take up cases against close confidants of Sharif brothers — former Lahore Development Authority chief Ahad Cheema and former principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad.