IHC restricts Naeem Bokhari from serving as PTV chairman-Pakistan

The High Court of Islamabad (IHC) restricted Naeem Bokhari from serving as President of Pakistani Television (PTV) on Thursday and heard the same petition for his appointment. The IHC Supreme Court, Athar Minallah, presiding over the case, affirmed the need for clear reasons to ease the 65-year-old Boka Lee’s age cap, and cited the Supreme Court’s decision to set aside Ataul Haq Qasmi as PTV. chairman. The court pointed out that the Information Broadcasting Department repeated the same mistakes as the Kasumi case and did not peruse the verdict of the Supreme Court when sending the summary to the federal cabinet. In November 2018, the Supreme Court declared Kasumi’s appointment illegal. The court ordered the federal government to appoint a full-time executive director of PTV after carrying out all legal, procedural and formal proceedings strictly in accordance with the law. The ruling observed that public officials, especially deputy heads elected as representatives of the people, owe loyalty and loyalty to Pakistan, the constitution and the law. They had to act accordingly and without being influenced by external considerations. The ruling said that officials were unable to circumvent the law and make arbitrary decisions on certain individuals based on their whims. IHC CJ added at today’s hearing that “the federal cabinet has not made a clear decision on easing the age limit and has not sent an accurate summary.” The court added that it sent the matter to the federal cabinet so that a decision could be made in the light of SC’s judgment. However, a lawyer at the Ministry of Justice informed the court that the cabinet had approved a summary of the appointment of the PTV chairman. Judge Minallah said, “You should have informed the cabinet about the decision of the peak court. If you don’t do that and move the summary, the cabinet will be embarrassed too.” “The courts generally do not interfere with the executive’s decision,” he said, instructing the government to submit a summary to the federal cabinet for review. The hearing was postponed for two weeks. Judge Minallah was hearing the same petition filed by advocates Raja Shakeel Abbasi and Asif Gujjar. While Abbasi challenged Bokhari’s appointment, Gujjar objected to the appointment of other members of the PTV board, including acting executive director Shahira Shahid, retired Col Hassan Imad Mohammadi, Asad Ahmed Jaspal, Asghar Nadeem Syed and Waseem Raza Abid. Attorneys named the appointment in violation of various Supreme Court rulings, including the rulings written in the Kasumi case and the IHC, which established guidelines for such appointments. The petitioners said the vacancy was not advertised in the media, contrary to the directions of the peak court, and the appointment was made without requesting an application for the vacancy. They added that the federal cabinet had eased the 65-year-old Boka Lee’s age cap without mentioning a plausible reason in the minutes of the cabinet. Bokhari’s appointment to lead PTI chief Imran Khan’s legal team in the Panama Papers spill, Bokhari was appointed PTV president last November. Interestingly, the appointment was made in an apparent haste, since the Federal Cabinet considered a summary of his appointment at the meeting, but did not support the inauguration of the PTV chairman. The cabinet instructed the intelligence department to resubmit the summary based on the following observations: i) The composition of the board of directors must follow the pattern of the previous board of directors with a large number of outside directors/private sector members. ii) appeal [against Islamabad High Court order of sacking Arshad Khan and other PTV directors] You can actively pursue it, and if possible, outside directors/private sector members of the previous board will be re-enrolled on the new board. iii) Shahzada Naeem Bokhari is included on the Board of Directors and appointed Chairman.” The Intelligence Department submitted a summary of the appointment of three PTV outside directors and nominated Naeem Bokhari, Chartered Accountant Syed Waseem Raza, and eminent writer Asghar Nadeem Syed as key nominations. Since Bokhari and Asghar Nadeem Syed are over 65 years old, the Ministry of Education took a break from the federal cabinet regarding their age. However, contrary to the opinion of the Cabinet regarding the resubmission of the summary of the appointment of PTV directors and chairpersons, the Ministry of Information has notified Bokari to the chairman. The notification contents are as follows. “The federal government is pleased to appoint Shahzada Naeem Bokhari as an independent director on the board of Pakistan Television Corporation.” Also, “The federal government has approved the appointment of Shahzada Naeem Bokhari to the PTVC Board Chair in partnership with the Pakistani Television Corporation. […]. The chairperson will remain in office for three years unless he resigns early. PTVC, the board of directors, must ratify his nomination for president.”