KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered Sindh government to ensure that all advertisements, signboards and panaflex with pictures of politicians are removed from across the province by April 4.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge bench of the apex court, issued the order on Saturday, while hearing a case related to political banners, posters and advertisements, at the court’s Karachi Registry.
The bench, also comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, directed the Sindh chief secretary to submit a compliance report after executing the order along with his personal affidavit confirming that all such advertisement had been removed.
The CJP told the chief secretary and the advocate-general that information about all the signboards featuring pictures of politicians should be presented in court. The top judge said he himself had seen the government advertisements hanging in the city with pictures of political leaders.
“Newspapers and television channels already run so many advertisements with pictures of politicians. There are even political figures in the government’s posters at polling stations,” he remarked.
Justice Nisar said images of both current and former politician would not feature in government advertisements. “All such advertisements need to be removed and their cost value be returned to the national exchequer,” he ordered.
CJP gives a week to clean Karachi
Later, the court gave the chief secretary a deadline of April 4 and directed him to submit, under oath, details of all advertisements and money incurred on them. The chief secretary undertook to submit a report by the next date of hearing.
The apex court on February 28 took suo motu notice of issuance of political advertisements by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Punjab and Sindh governments about their development projects.
The CJP had asked whether or not spending huge amounts on advertisements by provincial governments was pre-poll rigging, observing that the advertisements were paid from the national exchequer and public money was being spent for personal advertisements.
The court had directed information secretaries of the three provincial governments to submit record of awarding advertisements to print and electronic media within a week. It had also asked the authorities to provide details as to how many advertisements were provided to each media house.
On March 8, the CJP also ordered Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to pay Rs5.5 million back to the national exchequer for putting up his government advertisements in the newspapers.
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