ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned former finance minister Ishaq Dar and former finance secretary Waqar Masood in a case related to the illegal appointment of Attaul Haq Qasmi as chairman Pakistan Television Corporation.

The case regarding Qasmi’s illegal appointment and millions paid to him in the form of various allowances was heard by a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Attorney General for Pakistan Javed Khan while replying to a set of questions framed by the chief justice regarding Qasmi’s appointment and the amount paid to him told the bench that there were several irregularities in the process leading to the appointment of the writer as chairman PTV.

“The legal formalities in the process of appointment were not fulfilled while he was also given relaxation by increasing the maximum age limit in the instant case,” he informed the court, adding; “According to my knowledge, Qasmi was not fulfilling the requisite criteria for the post.”

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that a simple media person was not enough qualified to run a media corporation as, besides having an experience of the media, it also requires administrative and financial experience to run the day-to-day affairs.

The chief justice also directed the counsel appearing on behalf of Qasmi to provide the details of his (Qasmi’s) academic records to the court.

The attorney general further said that Qasmi was given Rs35.8 million in salary in two years and he was provided with unlimited facilities under the heads of telephone, petrol, entertainment and residence.

Justice Nisar questioned who had approved these perks and privileges for Qasmi and rhetorically commented whether the amount spent on him was taken from a fund for the earthquake affectees?

Later, the attorney general shared the details with the court which stated that Qasmi got the membership of Islamabad Club by paying Rs1.2 million from the public exchequer. At this, the chief justice expressed his extreme displeasure by saying: “We will recover the entire amount paid for Qasmi’s club membership with an interest rate of eight percent per annum.” 

Federal Information Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera and former principal secretary to the prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad,who were present in the court, were also questioned by the court whether they also have a membership of Islamabad Club.

Both the bureaucrats said that they never took the membership by using the public money but added they pay the membership fee by their own.

The attorney general shared all the details of expenses incurred on Qasmi and payment made by him to other people under different heads including payment to his son Muhammad Yasir Perzada, a grade-20 officer of Inland Revenue services. 

Fawad Hassan Fawad informed the court that the prime minister had only approved the appointment of Qasmi as a director in PTV’s board and subsequently as its chairman but the salaries and perks and privileges provided to him were accorded by either the Ministry of Information or the Ministry of Finance.

Justice Nisar questioned if the Ministry of Finance did not approve the salary, was it possible for Qasmi to draw such a hefty amount. Fawad replied that it was not possible without the approval of the Ministry of Finance.

The chief justice also directed in written order to paste court notices on the residence of Dar to make sure his presence in the case.

The chief justice ordered to summon Dar and Waqar Masood in the case by Monday next and suspend the proceedings till today (Wednesday).

Earlier, when Fawad Hassan Fawad showed his ignorance about the approval of the salary package and parks and privileges by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Information, the chief justice remarked that “you could follow my movement but did not know what was going on around you”.

Referring to some unreported conspiracies, the chief justice said: “I know that who was busy to prepare references against me and you were a part of it.”

“These things should not be disclosed here,” the chief justice said adding: “I will not be here after six months but we will have to give something to this country.”