Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan on Friday said he is resigning as Punjab Minister for Food, saying he could not hold a government post in the interest of "neutrality" since he is now the owner of a major television channel – Samaa TV.
Announcing his decision in a tweet, Aleem said he had a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan during which he persuaded the latter to accept the resignation as his new private responsibility warranted him to ensure "neutrality".
"It is necessary for me not to hold any government post," he tweeted, adding that he was grateful to the premier for accepting his request.
The PTI leader said he was now sending his resignation to the Punjab chief minister.
According to a BBC report, the shares of Samaa TV were shifted in September to Park View Limited, a real estate company owned by Aleem Khan and his daughter.
The move had come after the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) approved the transfer of shares and changes in the management of Samaa TV.
The BBC had reported that during the meeting, Pemra member from Balochistan Farah Azeem Shah had opposed the decision to approve the application of Messrs Jaag Broadcasting Systems Limited, which runs Samaa TV, for change of management and transfer of its shares without clearance of outstanding Pemra dues worth millions of rupees by the previous management.
Under Pemra laws, the shares and ownership of any channel cannot be transferred without clearing outstanding dues to the regulator.
Shah had told BBC that she was of the opinion that Pemra should have at least sought bank guarantees that the outstanding dues would be cleared.
She said she was expecting that rules would be followed while renewing the 15-year-old licence of Samaa TV which was about to expire in a few months, adding that the company owned by Aleem Khan was facing a property-related case and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had passed a verdict against it.
The issue was also sent to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and it was also pending before the National Accountability Bureau. In her dissenting note, she had written that the opinion of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Law and Justice should also be sought on the matter.
Moreover, she had pointed out, Aleem Khan was already a member of the board of governors of Value TV which had now become Channel 24 and this office had now come in conflict with the ownership of a new channel.