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Sabah
February 13, 2018

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SC may ask NAB to probe Qasmi’s appointment

SC may ask NAB to probe Qasmi’s appointment

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, while giving his remarks during the hearing into the appointment of chairman PTV on an exorbitant package, asked why the case should not be given to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation.

The chief justice then summoned the additional prosecutor general NAB and asked him to file a report on whether the cases could be investigated by NAB. The CJP said, “Democracy is not a monarchy and now there will be supremacy of law in the country.”

The three-member Supreme Court bench headed by CJP Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday conducted hearing into appointment of former PTV chairman Ataul Haq Qasmi. The chief justice said the supremacy of the law would be ensured. The court questioned who was behind the appointment of Ataul Haq Qasmi warning if the appointment was illegal, all the expenses incurred by the state-run media would be recovered from the person responsible.

Justice Nisar read out the financial details of the former chairman PTV from a report submitted by Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera. Qasmi received Rs150, 000 in salary, besides Rs270 million spent to cover Qasmi’s expenses during the two-year tenure. In addition to salary Qasmi was paid Rs300,000 for his medical expenses and Rs10,000,000 for travel expenses. The state television also gave him a Mercedes car and paid for its maintenance as well. Furthermore Qasmi received Rs50,000 for hosting a tv show, the report said.

“Under which law did the organisation pay for maintenance of Ataul Haq Qasmi’s car,” Justice Nisar demanded. Qasmi’s lawyer Ayesha Hamid however denied that Qasmi received salary for hosting his show. She also defended his salary saying that Rs150,000 was not an unreasonable amount for a chairman of the state television. Justice Nisar ordered the Federal Board of Revenue to present the complete record of Qasmi’s tax returns filed over the past 10 years.

As the two-member bench began hearing the case, the court directed the attorney general’s office to ensure the presence of Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad who was summoned at the last hearing. Later, as Fawad appeared in court and informed the chief justice that he had not given any instructions to the additional information secretary regarding Qasmi’s appointment.

When the CJP asked who ordered to move the summary for appointment of chairman PTV, Additional Attorney General Rana Waqar informed the court that DG IP Wing Nasir Jamal had moved the summary.

Ayesha Hamid, the counsel for Qasmi, informed the court that her client was being defamed by reports that he received Rs270 million. Chief Justice Nisar responded that the court could inquire into how much he received.

Earlier during the hearing the chief justice observed that the government did not have the authority to make appointments on its own. He said in the US the president could not even allot a kiosk but in Pakistan posts were doled out as favours at will. Former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid was also present in the court. The court adjourned hearing of the case till February 21.

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