Pakistan Top News

Attaullah-Haq Qasmi’s five-year tax record summoned by SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday demanded five-year tax record of Attaullah-Haq Qasmi, former Pakistan Television (PTV) Managing Director.

CJP Mian Saqib Nisar is hearing a suo motu case about appointment of Attaulla-Haq as MD, along with the details of salary plus other perks he enjoyed as both PTV’s MD and chairman.

As the hearings proceeded by the two-member bench in the morning, the court instructed the attorney general’s office to ensure the availability of Prime Minister’s Principle Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad, who had also been summoned in the last hearing.

Later, as Fawad appeared in court, he informed the chief justice that he has never submitted a false statement and asked to give an explanation to the court.

He vowed that he did not give any instructions to the additional information secretary regarding Qasmi’s appointment.

Former additional information secretary informed the court that their office received the summary of the appointment from the Internal Publicity Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The chief justice then asked who ordered to move the summary, observing that a note must have been sent stating that the post is empty before the summary was moved.

Chief Justice Nisar then summoned the additional prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), observing why the case should not be given to NAB to investigate whether the appointment was legal and as per rules.

Additional Attorney General Rana Waqar asked the chief justice to hear his plea and informed the court that DG IP Wing Nasir Jamal moved the summary.

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

The chief justice remarked that whosoever is responsible for the exorbitant pay package will have to pay out of his or her own pocket if any illegality is established. The court then summoned the five-year tax record of Qasmi.

Earlier, during the hearing, the chief justice observed that the government does not have the authority to make appointments on its own.

He said in the US, the president cannot even allot a kiosk but in Pakistan posts are doled out as favours at will.

Former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed was also present in court today.

At the last hearing on February 2, the Supreme Court had summoned Qasmi, Rashid, Fawad and other government officials to appear in court today.

At that hearing, the chief justice had expressed shock at Qasmi’s salary and payout when he left PTV in December last year.

Qasmi, a noted author and playwright, was appointed the chairman of PTV in 2015 but in April 2017, appointed himself the MD as well, sparking controversy.

The court was informed by Rana and Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Sukhera that Qasmi had reportedly received a total of Rs278 million in salaries and advertising cuts during his two-year stint at the state TV channel.

Qasmi is a recepient of the Pride of Performance Award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz.