Senate committee rejects PTV MD’s testimony

Orders appointment of new MD; Arshad Khan accused of favouritism, inability to run PTV

Waqas Ahmed March 06, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Managing Director of Pakistan Television, Arshad Khan Mutmain, has failed to convince the senate’s standing committee for human rights. The committee has constituted a selection board on the matter of the PTV MD and has directed for appointments to be made on a permanent basis within two weeks. The federal minister for information, Fawad Chaudhry, has alleged that Arshad Khan had lobbied to become the Managing Director and has asked for his resignation due to his inability to run the affairs of the state broadcaster. The committee also hinted at sending the matters of the Benami cheque and financial irregularities to the National Accountability Bureau.

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The meeting of the senate standing committee for human rights was presided over by its chairman, Nawaz Khokhar. The PTV union had accused the PTV MD of removing employee privileges and appointing his favourites at heavy salaries. It has alleged that the board had taken an approval for a salary of 2.2 million rupees. The PTV MD, however, informed the committee that he had not demanded any salary and that the board had set his salary at 1.7 million rupees.

Arshad Khan informed the committee that all the directors of PTV had been appointed by the information minister. He said that he had not been interested in becoming the Managing Director nor had he applied to become the MD. He said that the PTV is a registered company that runs through the corporation board through an ordinance upon which the information minister said that PTV, like other institutions, was facing a scenario in which the expenditures were greater than the income. He said that the turnover of PTV was 13 billion rupees but there was neither a finance member nor a chief technical officer. He accused Arshad Khan of favouritism in appointing ineligible people to high posts.

Fawad Chaudhry said that there is no presence of PTV’s board or an administration due to which the annual losses of the PTV have now crossed the 12 billion rupee mark. The information minister also charged that the MD had passed a Benami cheque illegally upon which the board and the MD would be issued notices. He said that when asked for a business plan, the MD had said that he was not answerable to him but to the Prime Minister’s office, adding that the board had given the same reply. He accused the board of focusing on increasing their privileges instead of coming up with a business plan. He said that instead of formulating a plan, favourites had been inducted at salaries as high as 1.5 million rupees. He said that the institution could have been made profitable with the Pakistan Super League and the South Africa cricket series but the Pakistan Super League bid was lost to benefit someone else.

The committee chairman, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, said that the PTV MD had failed to convince the committee. He asked for the matter of pensioners and employees to be resolved in two weeks. The committee rejected the PTV MD’s briefing and gave the ministry of information a deadline of 2 weeks to examine the laws related to PTV governance and to appoint a new PTV MD.

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