Publicity campaign: CJP directs CM Shehbaz to deposit Rs 5.5m in national exchequer

  • Money could be spent on purchase of medicines for poor people: SC

ISLAMABAD – The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took a strong exception to the massive spendings incurred for advertisement campaign by the Punjab government, directing its chief executive to deposit money in the national kitty.

Hearing the suo-moto case on Thursday, regarding the expenditure pertaining to media advertisements by the governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab, the top judge inquired the Information Secretary Punjab about the money spent on an advertisement by the government.

The official responded that Rs 5.5 million was paid for the advertisement, bearing the picture of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The advertisement was shown to the CJP in the courtroom.

Dismayed by the massive disbursement, the judge observed that such amount of money could be utilized for the purchase of medicines for the down-trodden class.

The CJP went a mile more and directed the chief minister to deposit the amount Rs 5.5 million back in the national exchequer.

The top judge also issued notices to Punjab govt, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan had taken a suo-moto notice last month regarding media advertisements by provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab.

The apex court constituted a three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice and ordered the information secretaries to submit the record of awarding advertisements to print and electronic media.

“Taxpayers’ money is being used for self-promotion, big advertisements are awarded at the nation’s expense,” the chief justice remarked and wondered: Doesn’t this equate to pre-poll rigging?”.

“They (govts) will have to promote their work at their own expense,” he had said.