LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Tuesday sought a written explanation from Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik for skipping his previous appearance in a case on the pretext of a meeting with the corps commander.
The chief justice was hearing a petition by the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) seeking recovery of outstanding payment from the government.
At the previous hearing, Information Secretary Raja Jahangir had appeared before the court. However, the chief justice summoned the chief secretary when he found Mr Jahangir trying to twist the facts about unpaid payment to TV channels under the head of advertisements.
The court had been informed that the chief secretary was busy in a meeting with the corps commander, and the chief justice had issued a notice to the defence secretary requiring complete record, agenda and the decisions taken in that meeting.
On Tuesday, the defence ministry’s director (legal) appeared before the court along with a report, which showed that there was no meeting of the corps commander with the chief secretary on the said date.
Irked at the situation, Chief Justice Khan observed that either the chief secretary or the defence ministry was misleading the court. He warned of dire consequences if either of them was found lying. The CJ observed that the court normally dealt with these issues casually, but now it had become a serious matter.
The hearing was put off for a date to be fixed after Eidul Fitr and the chief secretary was directed to submit a written explanation.
The PBA had pleaded that non-payment of the dues had been causing financial problems for the TV channels as a majority of them were unable to pay salaries to their workers on time.
PBA’s counsel, at the last hearing, contradicted the claim of the information secretary about the outstanding amount.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2021