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April 2, 2019

Information minister exchanges words with state-run TV MD

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April 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The tussle between Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and state-run TV Managing Director (MD) Arshad Khan continues as both traded barbs on Monday.

While the committee meeting was chaired by Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini. A heated argument broke out as the panel took up the matter of pending salaries and pensions of state TV’s employees, Fawad lashed out at Arshad Khan and accused him of misuse of authority and funds of the state broadcaster. He alleged that the PTV MD had relations with influential people and he was using his connections to his benefit. The minister also claimed that his subordinate was more powerful than him as he was often found in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Fawad also accused the MD of hiring two of his friends on salaries of Rs3 million. He said that this move was unjustified while the state broadcaster was suffering heavy losses and was undergoing a deficit of Rs5.8 billion. He added that Arshad himself was drawing a hefty salary.

Fawad further said that he had requested the prime minister to fire the MD who had become a hurdle in the smooth functioning of the state broadcaster. He said that the MD has glued to his post and the TV union was right in its actions, adding that he has given them time to improve the working of the state TV.

Arshad responded with strong words. He said that he respects the minister and asked him not to twist facts. He said that he had served as the MD of the state broadcaster thrice under various governments. “I am a professional and am only answerable for my job,” he said, adding that he had not issued any directives to stop the flow of salaries and pensions of employees. “The information minister is using the matter to settle personal scores,” he alleged. Arshad also said that he would not quit on minister’s asking, and if Fawad wanted to move the Supreme Court against him, he may.

He also said that the state broadcaster had to pay the liabilities of various organisations which amounted to Rs6 billion and he was trying to make this payment by June. “The minister cannot fire me. He should clarify why he is targeting me,” he said.

The meeting discussed the Kohistan video scandal which had claimed the lives of around nine people while the accused were still at large. The committee decided to send the matter to an anti-terrorism court. The meeting was also attended by the paternal uncle of late Afzal Khan, the youth who had raised the issue of killing of five girls by a jirga in Kohistan. — News report/ NNI

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