Pak high court bars PM Imran's close aide from working as PTV chairman

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Jan 14 (PTI) In an embarrassment to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the high court here on Thursday restrained one of his close associates from working as the chairman of state-run Pakistan Television (PTV).

Supreme Court lawyer, politician, and former TV host Naeem Bukhari was appointed as chief of the state broadcaster in November last year, inviting criticism for getting benefit from his closeness to Khan.

Arsalan Farrukh had challenged the appointment in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), arguing that the appointment was done in violation of various verdicts of the superior courts.

A single bench led by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, after hearing arguments, said in his decision that the appointment was in violation of a 2018 Supreme Court order in a similar case.

Justice Minallah remarked that the cabinet did not make a clear decision on relaxing the age limit for 65-year-old Bukhari.

'By omitting it, you are embarrassing the federal cabinet as well,' the judge told a government representative.

He directed the ministry to place a revised summary before the federal cabinet for review of the previous decision and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

The Supreme Court in Ataul Haq Qasmi's appointment case had ordered the federal government to appoint a full-time managing director of PTV after fulfilling all legal, procedural, and codal formalities strictly in accordance with the law.

The petitioner while challenging Bukhari’s appointment pointed out that contrary to the direction of the apex court, the vacancy had not been advertised in the press and the appointment was made without inviting applications for the vacant position.

He said the federal cabinet had relaxed the upper age limit for Bukhari, without mentioning plausible reasons in the minutes of the federal cabinet meeting.

Bukhari successfully defended Khan in 2017 in a famous case seeking his disqualification from public office for failing to show the source of income for buying an estate in the suburbs of Islamabad.

Bukhari, who led the legal team of Khan in the Panama Papers leak case, was appointed the PTV chairman in November last year.

Interestingly, the appointment was made in apparent haste as the federal cabinet had in its meeting considered a summary for his appointment but did not endorse his induction as PTV chairman. PTI SH MRJ AKJ MRJ