CJP Saqib Nisar rebuts to Attaullah Haq Qasmi counsel’s objection over SC prerogative to look the case

ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that  whether the top court should close its eyes and let the government do what it wants.

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The aforementioned remarks were made as the Supreme Court heard the suo motu case pertaining to former Pakistan Television (PTV) chief 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 TV.

As the hearing went under way, Qasmi’s counsel Ayesha Hamid stated that the PTV chairman’s appointment is the federal government’s prerogative.

When Qasmi’s counsel objected to the top court’s intervention in the case, the chief justice remarked that since the matter pertains to a public appointment, the court may review it.

Do you think we are fools, the chief justice asked, noting that the age requirement for the post was relaxed in Qasmi’s case.

Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi was the former acting MD of PTV, who allegedly appointed himself following the resignation of former MD Mohammad Malick in April, last year.

However on previous hearing a two-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, hearing a suo motu case in this regard, asked the government to furnish a comprehensive report explaining the salary package and amount paid to Mr Qasmi, who has been looking after the affairs of PTV as its chairperson after the three-year contract of former managing director Mohammad Malick expired on Feb 26, 2016. The post has been lying vacant since then.

On Friday, Additional Attorney General Mohammad Waqar Rana and Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera informed the court that Mr Qasmi had allegedly received an aggregate of Rs278m as salary and employee benefits during his two-year term.

He was replaced by Mr Sukhera as the acting MD, who distanced himself from the establishment in December 2017.

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