ISLAMABAD: The state broadcaster, Pakistan Television (PTV) is plagued by a culture of appointments made on an ad hoc basis, as most key positions in the organisation are either vacant or being managed by junior officials.
At least eight positions, including that of managing director (MD), director Administration and Personnel (A&P), director News, director Current Affairs, director PTV Academy, director Engineering, director International Affairs and director PTV National are yet to be filled or are being looked after by unqualified, junior officers.
The post of PTV chairman too will soon be vacated when Information Secretary Nazir Saeed retires after achieving superannuation on July 6.
Right now, PTV doesn’t even have an MD, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the appointment of Mohammad Malick ‘illegal’ on June 24. A 34-page detailed order was released this week. But PTV has filed an appeal with the IHC, challenging the sacking of its chief, but the matter has not been heard so far. An IHC division bench consisting of Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi are expected to take up the matter in the week commencing July 7.
8 top posts at state broadcaster vacant or being manned by junior officers
The post of Director A&P has also been also vacant for the past several months. Sources in PTV said that following the retirement of Asadullah Khan in January of this year, acting of the director A&P was handed to Controller Tasnim Kausar. The charge was withdrawn on March 7, 2014 when Mansoor Ahmed Khan was appointed to the position. But his appointment has been challenged by at least two senior PTV officials – Ms Kausar and Asad Jaspal – who have also obtained a stay order from the IHC.
On June 10, the Establishment Division withdrew its notification of March 7, notifying the appointment of Mr Khan.
The key position of director PTV News has also been awarded on an ad-hoc basis. Acting charge was given to a junior officer, Athar Farooq Buttar, in April of last year by then-acting MD Mustafa Kamal Kazi. The post fell vacant in April 2013 after the retirement of the previous Director News Khalid Iqbal Warraich.
According to identical petitions filed in the IHC challenging the appointment of the incumbent director, Buttar is junior to at least 12 other senior controllers, but ostensibly got the job because of his connections. The petitions also allege that in less than 30 years, Buttar, who is a Canadian national, remains on leave but has managed to achieve promotions on time, alongside regular PTV staffers.
Another important position, that of director Current Affairs, is currently being filled by Agha Masood Shorish, who retired 7 years ago after reaching the age of superannuation.
The PTV Academy is also without a director and Controller Sajjad Ahmed is currently heading the department.
PTV does not have any directors of Engineering or International Relations either.
The position of director PTV National was filled when the state broadcaster’s administration appointed Senior Controller News Muzammil Ahmed Khan to the post.
PTV spokesman Sohail Bokhari refused to comment. Information Secretary Nazir Saeed was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2014