Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has accused President Asif Ali Zardari of secretly distributing billions of rupees from the national exchequer among some ‘fake’ journalists in an underhand deal to buy their support for his party’s electioneering.
Speaking to the media outside parliament on Wednesday, Nisar challenged President Zardari and his associates to prove him wrong in any court of their liking.
“Billions of rupees of public money are being spent for personal interest. This dirty game is being played in the presidency,” Nisar said, repeating his earlier allegations.
Like he has done previously, Nisar chose not to mention the names of the journalists and media houses who he claimed received bribes from President Zardari to run the election campaign for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “I’ll do it at an appropriate time,” he said.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, however, insisted he had documentary proof of the money that was being distributed through a state agency. He then demanded an independent and credible audit of the advertising money that the government and its departments pay to media houses for routine operation.
Nisar clarified that he did not blame the entire media industry but wished to expose some “black sheep” who are exploiting genuine and hardworking journalists.
Regarding a multi-billion rupees scam in the military-run National Logistics Cell (NLC) involving some top officials, the opposition leader said that as head of the Public Accounts Committee he had raised the issue with army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
General Kayani, he added, was in favour of a credible and transparent probe into the scam. Nisar gave credit to the army chief for acknowledging the scandal and urged him to bring it to its logical conclusion and save the credibility of his institution.
Retorting to the charges, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira urged the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to take notice of the ‘irresponsible’ statements of the opposition leader.
In a statement, the information minister alleged that Nisar was ‘confused’ and never stuck to his words. “Nisar had claimed that he had proof of recorded conversations, but why has he not come up with it [yet]? He should also disclose which secret agency he is associated with from where he would have access to such recordings. He should bring the evidence if he has moral courage,” Kaira challenged.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.