LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Tuesday issued a contempt notice to Punjab Secretary for Information Raja Jahangir for twisting facts about unpaid payment to the television channels under the head of advertisements.

The chief justice was hearing a petition by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) seeking recovery of the outstanding payment from the government.

In compliance with the previous order, information secretary Jahangir appeared before the court along with details of the outstanding amount.

He said the government owed Rs200 million, however, PBA’s counsel Jam Asif Mahmood contradicted the figure. He said the exact outstanding amount was Rs360 million.

Chief Justice Khan took exception to the secretary’s stance and warned him of strict action for misleading the court.

The CJ summoned the chief secretary on a short notice and reminded the secretary information to be mentally prepared to go to jail.

Later, a law officer informed the court that the chief secretary was busy in a meeting with the corps commander. Irked by the absence of the chief secretary, Chief Justice Khan directed the law officer to submit complete record, agenda and the decision taken at the meeting with the corps commander.

The CJ also issued a separate notice to the federal secretary defence in this regard for a reply on the next date of hearing.

The secretary information was also directed to submit his reply to the contempt notice.

The PBA had pleaded that the non-payment of the dues had been causing financial problems for the television channels as a majority of them were unable to pay salaries to their workers on time.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2021

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