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Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh to head probe panel on Broadsheet issue

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January 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said on Thursday the prime minister has already constituted an inquiry committee to investigate the Broadsheet matter and determine the responsibility within 45 days.

The minister said this during the meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, chaired by MNA Javed Latif. While in a tweet on Thursday, Shibli Faraz said that Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh will head the inquiry committee on the Broadsheet matter. While during meeting of the NA Committee on Information and Broadcasting, he said there was no point to summon the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman in the committee at this time. He said as per the terms of reference of the inquiry committee, responsibility would be fixed and its details would be shared with the information committee. Moreover, he said the matter did not come in the domain of the committee on Information and Broadcasting.

Shibli Faraz opined that at a time when an inquiry committee was working, summoning the NAB chairman in the committee could create confusion. He said that when the inquiry committee report comes, if the committee was not satisfied, it could summon him then. He said that if the committee summons the NAB chairman, then it should also summon all persons named in it.

During past five years the committee has never taken any agenda like this, he said, adding that the PTI had no worry on the Broadsheet issue, as it had nothing to do with this all saga. PTI MNA Farrukh Habib said that it was an open and shut affair and if the committee summons the NAB chairman, then all aspects of the case should be discussed.

He said that he differed with the proposal to summon the NAB chairman as it was not in the domain of the committee. PTI MNA Kanwal Shauzab also opposed the idea to summon the head of the NAB.

However, the Chairman of the Committee Javed Latif said that at the first stage the NAB chairman could send his representative to brief the committee, if he could not satisfy the panel it may summon the NAB chairman in its next meeting.

Javed Latif said that it was the responsibility of the institution to explain who was responsible for payment of millions of dollars to Broadsheet without recovery of any looted money. On the proposal of PTI MNA Kanwal Shauzab, the committee also decided to summon the owners of the media houses whose employees have not been paid salaries for many months.

Former president Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Afzal Butt said that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure implementation of law of the land so that the poor media workers get their salaries in time.

Kanwal Shauzab said that it was the age of fifth generation war and the media had a very important role to play, but unfortunately working journalists had no protection of their jobs and labour laws were not being followed.

Dr Nafisa Shah said that the bill related to the safety of journalists should be enacted and implemented. The committee formed a sub-committee to look into the media issues comprising Naz Baloch, Kanwal Shauzab and Saad Waseem.

The committee deferred the issue of kidnapping of senior journalist Matiullah Jan as it was informed that the matter was sub judice in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. While discussing the issue of PTV showing incomplete map of Pakistan, the committee asked the management to look into the issue of termination of lower staff on humanitarian grounds.

The committee was informed that PTV chairman was the appellate authority in this regard and presently the post was vacant. The meeting was attended by MNAs Nasir Khan Musazai, Tahir Iqbal, Akram Cheema, Aftab Jahangir, Javaria Zafar Aheer, Kanwal Shauzab, Farrukh Habib, Nadeem Abbas, Dr Nafia Shah, Saad Waseem and Naz Baloch. Besides Secretary Information and Broadcasting Shahera Shahid, senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were also present during the meeting.