Pakistan Television (PTV) on Friday sacked its suspended director of current affairs, Agha Masood Shorish, following allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of authority by multiple staffers at the state-run broadcaster. A total of five inquiries had been initiated against Shorish, including three for sexual harassment. PTV’s 14 producers had also filed a complaint against him in the Islamabad High Court, and the issue was also taken up in the National Assembly.
Shorish, who was suspended three months ago for negligence, had continued to receive his salary and all other benefits during his suspension period. He also officially retired around a decade ago after reaching the age of superannuation. The executive also reportedly used PTV’s legal resources to defend himself in the court even though the organisation was not a party in the case.
The Information Ministry issued a notification for his termination after participants of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to remove officers who were bringing a bad name to state-owned organisations, were posted even after retirement or had caused financial harm to them, sources said. Tanzeela Mazhar, a former PTV employee who was among the main complainants against Shorish said in a tweet on Friday: “Finally, [the] darkest chapter of harassment, corruption and nepotism is closed. Thank you everyone who stood by us to make this happen.”
She thanked PPP lawmakers Saeed Ghani and Shazia Marri, and multiple TV anchors for their support. Marri had moved a calling attention notice regarding complaints by Mazhar and her fellow anchor Yashfeen Jamal earlier this year in the NA upon which the State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had said that an unbiased committee would investigate the matter.
Mazhar had resigned from PTV later, since she said she could not keep drawing a salary without being given work by the PTV.
“I resigned because the man in question was reinstated,” Tanzeela Mazhar had told Dawn.com earlier.
“Even though our contracts were renewed, we were not being given air time. To take a government salary but not work was unacceptable to me,” she had said.
“When I raised my voice, people responded with [degrading] comments about women, and our character and personal lives, without understanding that what we do in our private lives is a private matter,” Mazhar said while speaking of the reprisals to a social media campaign she ran against the man in question.
“I plan to raise awareness about what harassment is, as most people do not take it seriously until a person has been beaten up or raped,” Mazhar added.
Pakistan Press Foundation
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