PTV MD’s suspension garners controversy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Television (PTV) Managing Director Aamer Manzoor had opposed sacking of seven professionals before being suspended by PTV Chairman Naeem Bokhari.

On Jan 1, the PTV board charge-sheeted and suspended Mr Manzoor for “exercising powers beyond prescribed limits.”

According to media reports, PTV’s board of directors took the decision to suspend Mr Manzoor at a meeting presided over by Mr Bokhari.

The PTV board in its meeting had terminated the services of seven professionals inducted during the tenure of Mr Bokhari’s predecessor.

The board devised a yardstick for the termination according to which the maximum pay limit was set at Rs350,000 for the contractual employees.

Subsequently, “the PTV board approved termination of the services of professionals/contractual employees (list prepared by the chairman) who were drawing salary above Rs350,000 per month.”

According to the minutes of the meeting, “the managing director [Aamer Manzoor] was the sole dissenter.”

However, the board decided to sack the professionals namely Khawar Azhar, chief marketing, strategy and content; former cricketer Rashid Latif, Mohammad Tahir Mushtaq, chief human resource officer; Quatrina Hosain, chief of news and current affairs; Nasir A. Naqvi, chief technology officer; Khurram Anwar, executive producer current affairs and infotainment; Asim Baig, head of strategy and corporate communication, and retired Col Mohammad Nadeem Niazi, general manager security.

As per the direction of the PTV board, “Their termination letters be issued today [Dec 7] positively with the signatures of director admin and personnel and the chairman.”

Interestingly, the director admin and personnel Asad Ahmed Jaspal has been working in the PTV on the basis of a stay order obtained from Peshawar High Court (PHC).

Mr Jaspal was the director PTV Academy Islamabad and among those PTV officials who were sent on leave preparatory to retirement (LPR) after attaining 58 years of age. He secured the stay order from the court and the chairman PTV posted him as the director admin and personnel.

Despite repeated attempts, PTV spokesperson Sohail Bokhari could not be contacted for comments.

Mr Jaspal, however, while talking to Dawn said he was lawfully working on his present post since a high court had granted him a stay order.

But he did not comment on the suspension of the MD PTV, saying this was beyond his prerogative.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Tuesday will take up a petition filed against the appointment of Naeem Bokhari as the PTV chairman.

Another petition that challenged the appointment of the PTV board members, including Mr Bokhari, acting MD Shahera Shahid, retired Col Hassan Imad Mohammadi, Asad Ahmed Jaspal, Asghar Nadeem Syed and Waseem Raza Abid will also be taken up by the court.

The petition contended that the appointment of the PTV board members, including its chairman, had been made in violation of various verdicts of the Supreme Court and the IHC, which had laid down guidelines for such appointments.

The petitioner pointed out that contrary to the direction of the apex court, the vacancy had not been advertised in the press and the appointment had been made without inviting applications for the vacant position.

He said the federal cabinet had relaxed the upper age limit for 65-year-old Mr Bokhari without mentioning plausible reason in the minutes of its meeting.

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