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PTV all set to withdraw seniority of 34 producers.

Byline: Imran Mukhtar

ISLAMABAD -- The management of state-owned Pakistan Television is all set to withdraw seniority of its 34 producers of news and current affairs department apparently to benefit those employees who changed their cadres in the past.

The move comes despite a stay order given by the Islamabad High Court on April 13, 2018 stating: 'In the meanwhile, no adverse action shall be taken against the petitioners and letter dated July 2, 2013 (regarding giving seniority to these producers from the date of appointment in the PTV shall not be withdrawn.'

At a time when only a few weeks have left in the expiry of the PML-N government's tenure, the politics in the state-owned entity is at peak, according to the sources.

Despite a stay order given by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of Islamabad High Court (IHC), the PTV management on April 17 issued show cause notices to these producers having each titled: 'Show cause notice for withdrawal of letter granting backdated seniority from initial date of contract appointment.' The officers had got backdated seniority in the light of a judgement of the Supreme Court and two judgements of the IHC after fighting long legal battle in the courts. Now the management of PTV having the status of corporation has issued them show cause notices while interpreting the latest judgment of the five-member bench of the Supreme Court given on January 29, 2018 in a case related to fix the seniority of some PTV employees of Balochistan.

On the other hand, these producers claim that management is wrongly interpreting the judgement as in the same decision the apex court has dismissed the PTV management's review petition against the earlier judgment of the Supreme Court given in their favour.

A number of these producers wishing anonymity alleged that Managing Director PTV Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, who is also the secretary information, is being misled by some senior officers of the TV channel as he (Sukhera) being an officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service is unaware of the internal politics of PTV.

MD PTV Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera while replying queries of The Nation said: 'In the light of the Supreme Court judgement, we issued show cause notices to the producers whose seniority is likely to be affected.' After issuance of show cause notices, PTV received a stay order from the IHC and the whole process has been suspended after that, he added. He also said: 'Further necessary action is being taken accordingly. However PTV will act strictly in accordance with the law and the judgements of the SC.'

Meanwhile, the producers who are facing action said that PTV management had not conveyed them that the 'whole process' had been suspended as they had been asked to reply the show cause notices by April 24 and they had submitted their replies with the management.

The producers alleged that the PTV management wanted to reverse the decision of giving them seniority apparently to befit those officers who changed their cadres in the past through re-designation of their posts. They claimed that these officers were sitting on key positions and they fear losing their seniority and positions in case they got promotions while having backdated seniority.

These employees had been given seniority from February 20, 2006, from the date of their employment, in the light a judgement of the Supreme Court given in 2013 and two judgements of IHC.

However, PTV management wants to withdraw the benefit given in the light of January 29, 2018 judgement of SC. 'It is further clear that you were not entitled to be regularised with effect from the date of original contract employment (20.02.2006) but we only entitled to be regularised with effect from 30.12.2010 in accordance with the decision of PTV Board....,' said one of the show cause notices.

The Supreme Court in its January 29 judgement set aside the earlier judgement given by the Balochistan High Court in favour of PTV employees of Balochistan and said: 'No contract employee was entitled to backdated regulariSation.' PTV management in the show cause notices has claimed that these 34 producers were contract employees at the time of their employment in PTV.

However, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while deciding the constitution petition number 48 of 2009, filed by these 34 producers, had said that these were not contractual employees but on probation and should be treated as 'regularly appointed.' 'As far as Petition No 48 is concerned, the case is different from above petitions because they were regularly appointed on probation for a period of two years from 20.2.2006, where after their probation period has not been extended and the letters of permanent employment have not been issued in their favour,' the judgement said. The judgement added: 'Learned counsel appearing for the respondent Corporation (PTV) has stated that non-issuance of such letter on expiry of probation clearly indicates that they have completed the probation period without any strain on their performance and now they are in the employment of PTV.' The Supreme Court in its judgement ordered the PTV management to consider all petitioners for regularization.

The PTV management in the light of this judgement prepared regularisation policy and regularised all 34 petitioners with effect from December 30, 2010 and not from the date of their appointment in the PTV.

The petitioners again approached the IHC through a writ petition number 1582/2011 claiming that they were entitled to be regularised from their original date of employment i.e. 20 February 2006. IHC gave its judgment, handed down on 23-01-2012, in favour of these producers. PTV challenged the judgement through two intra-court appeals that were also rejected by the Islamabad High Court. The PTV did not challenge the judgement and through an office order issued on July 2, 2013 regularised the services of all producers from the date of their appointment.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Apr 26, 2018
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