PTV MD Appointment Case: Dar grilled, CJ deems his role as important in controversy

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered on Monday former finance minister Ishaq Dar to appear before court within three days.

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“Ishaq Dar is involved in the case,” Justice Nisar said as he headed a three-judge bench of the apex court.

The bench is hearing a suo motu case related to former Pakistan Television (PTV) chairman Attaullah Haq Qasmi’s appointment as managing director (MD) as well as the amount of salary and perks he received both as chairman and MD of the state-run corporation.

“We are giving Dar another chance. He should appear before the court within three days,” the bench remarked while directing that summons be sent to the former finance minister’s house.

“Dar is absconding and we will conduct an inquiry if he fails to appear before the court again,” the chief justice observed.

Earlier during the hearing, the chief justice had warned to revoke the former finance minister’s passport over failure to appear before the court.

As the hearing resumed after a break, Justice Nisar asked the interior secretary, “Under which circumstances can passports be revoked and can we revoke Dar’s passport?”

He further questioned, “Dar is absconding so what can be the consequences of revoking his passport?”

Justice Nisar further said, “It is the right of every citizen to hold a passport and we respect everyone but in turn they should respect the judiciary.”

“His non-appearance can also be a contempt of court case,” he upheld.

“We are summoning Dar in accordance with the law but he is not respecting the court,” Justice Nisar said.

The chief justice then asked the interior secretary regarding the steps necessary to ensure Dar’s return to the country.

“Can Dar be brought back to the country via Interpol?” he asked.

Further, Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed, “Nawaz and Maryam have been sentenced but they are still returning to the country.”

To this, the chief justice added, “Ishaq Dar is a senator and he is still fleeing.”

Earlier during the hearing, Justice Nisar asserted, “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure Dar returns to the country.”

Justice Nisar had summoned Interior Ministry officials to apprise the court of the steps necessary for the former finance minister’s return.

During the last hearing of the case on July 5, Justice Nisar had observed that he will announce the decision in the case today and had summoned Dar and the former finance secretary to record their statements.

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 the additional attorney general and information secretary 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, a recipient of the Pride of Performance Award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-e-Imtiaz, has denied any wrongdoing.

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