Dr SHAHID MASOOD’S REIGN OF ERRORS
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He decides to run on PTV a programme he used to anchor on Geo TV and orders extensive publicity with shots of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto inserted in the promos. He claims that he has sensitive information of Mohtarma’s and Mr Zardari’s secret meetings with President Musharraf and the C-in-C and that is the secret of his hold over the PPP leadership.
Holding two visiting cards: a PTV card and a Geo card and presents them to the visitors
Dr Shahid Masood, a failed medical doctor turned anchor, was appointed in early July as Chairman PTV , a post normally held by Secretary Information. This is his performance record of his three weeks in office.
1. He attends a cordial welcome held by MD PTV Yousaf Baig Mirza, assuring every one of his brotherly relations with the MD. Ten minutes later, he has YBM sacked and takes over additional charge of MD PTV.
2. The Ministry of Information (led by PPP Government’s most powerful Minister Sherry Rehman) tamely gives in to his Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
3. He declares at his first official meeting with working directors, that he is a rightist and has been a senior member of Islami Jamiat-i-Tulba. His colleagues disclose that ex-ISI Chief and Taliban supporter General Hameed Gul is his ideal.
4. He announces that the PTV Board of Directors will be dissolved and a new independent Board constituted. (Nothing is heard of it later!).
5. King Masood issues orders for Rs 100,000 per month increase for the Director News Sarwar Munir Rao, who is also given the additional charge of Director Current Affairs.
6. Orders Rs 50,000 pm allowance for PRO Suhail Bukhari, on his 4th day in office.
7. He orders that five new directors be appointed with immediate effect. Director Administration is directed to issue orders there and then.
8. Foreign correspondents are invited to PTV and subjected to a long speech by the King SM about his exploits in ARY and Geo and his meeting with President Musharraf. The correspondents have a good laugh. He claims to have built the News City in Chaghi Studio, although it was built several months ago.
9. He decides to hold audience for diplomats and subjects them to his long speeches about himself. Once two ambassadors are called at the same time causing great embarrassment for both PTV and the honourable guests. He serves the ambassadors with KFC chicken pieces with forks and knives!
10. He shocks every one by keeping two visiting cards: a PTV card and a Geo card and presents them to the visitors.
11. He decides to keep the portfolio of Director Marketing along with the powers of the Chairman and MD.
12. He graciously decides to grant a pay package to the union worth Rs 700 millions although the Finance and Sales directors plead that they don’t have the funds and the budget will go into a huge deficit. The union in return shouts Hail King Masood slogans when the Prime Minister visits the PTV Centre for his address to the nation.
13. He appoints KPMG as auditors to check PTV’s financial position (to blackmail his predecessor) and leaks the story to the press. However he sends the auditors back after a secret dinner meeting with ex MD Yousaf Baig Mirza. The KPMG has to be paid Rs 1 million as per the contract nevertheless.
14. He claims that he is bugging telephones of all key staff.
15. He develops a great liking for all favourites of ex Chairman and MD and offers them new shows and bigger pay packages.
16. A dinner in his honour is held by Abdullah Kadwani (head of ARY Digital) in Karachi . President Musharraf arrives unannounced !
17. He orders wind up of Benazir Birthday exhibition prematurely.
18. He stops News & Current Affairs Division from producing special programmes marking anniversary of Zia’s coup on 5th July. On protests, he allows some discussion programmes only.
19. He calls Director General Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation for a meeting and does not turn up. DG PBC protests to the Ministry.
20. He receives Mir Shakeel and Mir Ibrahim of Geo in PTV HQs for one to one meetings.
21. He asks PTV to pay for 42 newspapers and over a dozen magazines for his house. PTV also pays for his long stay at a suite of Marriot Hotel. A Rs 600,000 generator is bought by PTV for his house.
22. It is disclosed that he is paid an amount of Rs 30, 00,000 pm besides his Rs 800,000 salary.
23. He plays havoc with the PTV screen by abruptly changing PTV News screen colours several times.
24. He refuses to attend Media Chiefs meeting held to discuss PMs maiden address to the nation (to be recorded at PTV) and his all-important visit to the US .
25. He abstains from Information Minister’s meeting at PTV News to discuss arrangements for PM’s address on 19 July afternoon.
26. Secretary Information and Press Secretary visit the Centre and are told that Chairman/MD sahib is ‘resting’ in his office. As a result proper arrangements are not made for the PM’s speech.
27. He mysteriously disappears from the Studio and Control Room during the PM’s live speech and suddenly a technical mishap occurs and the speech is interrupted for a couple of minutes.
28. He calls his staff to issue a letter of termination of Shahid Nadeem, DMD at 1.30 am on Sunday night and the news is run on Express TV around 1 am. Next day, he appears on Aaj TV’s ‘Bolta Pakistan ‘ and claims that the DMD was in charge of the whole affair (a plain lie!). He makes fun of the Information Ministry, the PM’s Staff and PM’s speech on the programme.
29. He decides to run on PTV a programme he used to anchor on Geo TV and orders extensive publicity with shots of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto inserted in the promos. He claims that he has sensitive information of Mohtarma’s and Mr Zardari’s secret meetings with President Musharraf and the C-in-C and that is the secret of his hold over the PPP leadership.
PTV professionals ask when will this reign of terror end?