ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved judgment in case regarding the alleged illegal appointment of Ataul Haq Qasmi as chairman Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV).
A three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, noted that the court can exercise quo waranto jurisdiction if appointments have been made on a political basis like it had done in Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification case.
During the hearing, the bench also hinted at referring the matter regarding the illegal appointment to the National Accountability Bureau.
It also directed Ernst & Young (EY) to audit the Rs270 million payment to Qasmi and his son in two years.
A representative of EY will inform the court about the time required to perform a full audit in view of the terms of reference, referred by the Ministry of Information.
During the hearing, the bench wondered how PM’s Secretary Fawwad Hassan Fawad approved a summary on the verbal instructions of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The summary was related to his perks and privileges.
The bench also questioned whether rules allow action on verbal instruction. However, Fawad claimed that same procedure was being followed for the last two decades.
The bench lamented that the most powerful bureaucrat is totally ignorant about the rules and remarked that even the American president doesn’t have the right to do that.
The court also remarked that Article 62(1)(f) can also apply to former information minister Pervez Rashid as he had admitted that he had recommended Qasmi for the appointment.
The bench passed the remarks after Additional Attorney General Waqar Rana informed the court that Qasmi’s approval was given on the summary given by then information minister Pervaiz Rashid. He also contended that the federal government has the authority to appoint Qasmi as chairman PTV.
On the other hand, Ayesha Hamid, counsel for Qasmi, stated that Rashid was qualified for appointing her client as PTV chairman.
Upon this, the bench asked the lawyer to refer any precedent where a literary person could be appointed as administrative head of any corporation.