ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday was assured that Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif would deposit Rs 5.5 million spent on a Punjab government TV advertisement in the national exchequer.
The assurance was given by Punjab Information Secretary Raja Jehangir to the three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, which heard a suo motu notice case of advertisement campaigns, launched by Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments through print and electronic media, highlighting their achievements.
The information secretary submitted that total Rs129 million was spent by the Punjab government on advertisements in electronic and print media in February 2018. On the court’s query, he said the amount was spent on three types of advertisements.
On the court’s directive, a TV advertisement of the Punjab government in relation to development activities in Kasur was also played in the courtroom. The secretary informed the court that Rs5.5 million was paid to TV channels for airing the advertisement.
The chief justice observed that public funds were used for an ad campaign showing the chief minister and highlighting the government achievements and sought a reply from the secretary as to why Rs 5.5 million was spent on such an activity.
The secretary replied that he had already discussed the matter with the chief minister, who would deposit the amount in national exchequer.
The bench also issued notices to chief secretaries on a civil miscellaneous application, filed by a journalist, submitting that the SC had already stopped governments in 2012 from launching political campaigns using public funds.
The bench also issued notices to All Pakistan Newspapers Society observing that it had appealed that no ban should be placed on government advertisements as it would add to their financial miseries.
The court will take up the matter on March 12. -APP