SC irked over politicians’ photos featuring on ads
CJ orders Sindh Chief Minister Murad to pay Rs1.4m within 10 days either from his pocket or using PPP funds, directs KP to submit its reply over publication of ex-cm Khattak’s picture in two advertisements by Monday
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to pay Rs1.4 million for a provincial government advertisement in which his photograph was featured.
The court issued the order while hearing a suo motu notice pertaining to media advertisements by the governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Punjab.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the chief minister to pay the amount within 10 days either from his own pocket or using Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) funds. He pointed out that former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had paid at least Rs5m for an advertisement featuring his picture.
The court also directed the KP government to submit its reply over publication of former chief minister Pervez Khattak’s picture in two advertisements by Monday.
On April 4, 2018, the chief justice, during a hearing of the case, had deemed using pictures for self-promotion as inappropriate.
“The use of pictures in government ads on TV or in print is henceforth prohibited by the court.”
The KP information secretary submitted a report in court seeking 10 days to submit a reply, but the court rejected the report, with Justice Nisar remarking that the KP government was attempting to mislead the court.
He reprimanded the information secretary for what he said was the unlawful defence of political igures by a government servant.
On Feb 28, 2018, the chief justice had taken suo motu notice of government’s awarding of advertisements to the media at “nation’s expense.”
The court had constituted a threemember bench and directed the information secretaries of the three provinces to submit the record of advertisements awarded to print and electronic media. It also asked the authorities to provide details of how many advertisements were provided to each media house.
The chief justice had said that the provincial governments run advertisements in the media with large logos and pictures to promote their projects, “yet 4,500 schools in Sindh are deprived of potable water.”
On Wednesday night, CJ Saqib Nisar returned to Pakistan after collecting funds for Mohmand and Diamer Bhasha dams during his London visit.
Talking to media at the Islamabad airport, the top judge said that he will also visit United States for fundraising campaign.
Earlier, Nisar said that “failure to construct uncontroversial dams in the country was a criminal negligence. Water is a hope of life for our coming generations and we have to take steps to save water from being wasted,” he added.
He said that water level in Pakistan is falling sharply, which has affected daily life in major cities. He said that underground water level in Lahore has fallen to four hundred feet while in Quetta it has fallen to more than 500 feet.
Chief justice said that during a visit to Karachi he took suo motu notice against illegal water hydrants and also took action against water maia who was selling water to the citizens at a very high price.
He further vowed to not let anyone misappropriate the funds being collected for construction of dams to resolve the country’s water crisis.