Misuse of public money: SHC gives more time to govt, NAB to reply

Petitioners had requested court to declare ads showing photographs of unofficial persons illegal


Our Correspondent July 27, 2017
Nineteen workers were granted bail. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday allowed more time to the provincial government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file replies in a petition against display of pictures of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders in government advertisements.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui, also directed the state counsel to file comments within three days and fixed the matter for August 7.

The court took up the matter after former chief of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee Nazim Haji and Advocate Syed Mureed Ali Shah had filed petitions, in which they contended that the provincial government was displaying pictures of the PPP leaders in government advertisements published in various newspapers 'in order to sponsor and illegally benefit the ruling party'.

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The petitioners had alleged that the only motive behind the advertising was to promote the political party's leaders for political, electoral and monetary gains. This kind of advertising, which is carried out with the public money to advance political interests of the party is discriminatory to other political parties and citizens of Pakistan, argued the petitioners.

The information department was unceasingly publishing advertisements in various newspapers showing pictures of unofficial persons using public money despite the fact that public funds could not be spent for the personal promotion or political advantage of a party, the petitioners alleged.

The petitioners pleaded to the court to declare the advertisements showing photographs of unofficial persons illegal under the articles 4, 25 and 218(3) of the Constitution.

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Furthermore, the court was requested to form a judicial commission or pass direction to the NAB to probe into the allocation, distribution and utilisation of funds worth billions of rupees for the government advertisements published in print and electronic media from 2013 till date, and recover public funds used in such advertisements.

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