–Issue of PTV MD becomes a problem for information minister as questions being raised over performance of state-owned channel
–Info minister denies showing interest in interior ministry
ISLAMABAD: In a possible cabinet reshuffle, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry is likely to be given some other ministry following his tussle with PM’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq on the issue of PTV MD.
Sources told this scribe that a number of party leaders, including one close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, are lobbying vigorously to get the top slot of information ministry.
They said that Fawad Chaudhry in a recent meeting with PM expressed his desire that he should be given the Ministry of Interior ministry; however, they said that the PM refused the option.
Sources said that the PM was not happy with Fawad’s attitude, especially his stance on the issue of PTV MD and the subsequent tussle with Naeemul Haq on Twitter.
They said that despite reminders to Fawad to not indulge in a fight with party leaders and ministers, he did not change his attitude and was constantly targeting PTV MD Arshad Khan. Resultantly, the premier had to cut his power of appointing the official, they claimed.
Sources said Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood was also offered the slot of information minister; however, he declined the offer and stated that he is satisfied with the current ministry.
When contacted by this scribe, Fawad denied any of the developments. In his WhatsApp reply, he stated, “Neither PM asked me for change nor I showed any interest for interior [ministry].”
Meanwhile, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage met under the chairmanship of Mian Javed Latif at PTV on Tuesday.
The matter of PTV MD was thoroughly discussed by the committee.
Fawad informed the committee that the ministry has received 42 applicants for the PTV MD slot but acting PTV MD Arshad Khan did not apply.
He said that the losses of PTV surged to Rs 5.8 billion and Arshad Khan is taking Rs 2.2 million salary while the employees of PTV are staging a demonstration for their medical and other allowances.
He further said that the federal cabinet, as well as the Senate committee, had asked to give a business plan of PTV; however, the state-owned channel’s high-ups did not comply.
The committee expressed its grave concerns and displeasure over the ‘willful’ absence of PTV MD. The minister and secretary of information and broadcasting were also unaware regarding the absence.
The committee also recommended steps/actions that should be taken by the ministry against the MD.