PTI-PAT sit-ins: Govt ploughed Rs450m into media blitz

Published: April 17, 2015
Campaign was launched as a counter-narrative to dharna speeches. PHOTO: AFP

Campaign was launched as a counter-narrative to dharna speeches. PHOTO: AFP


The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government spent an estimated Rs450 million from national exchequer on the advertisement in an effort to run its media campaign to counter months-long sit-ins staged by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) last year.

The ‘popular idea’ was floated by the PML-N media managers during the dharnas when PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri with the help of their supporters wanted to topple the incumbent government last year.

The prime minister’s office, without observing any rules, asked the finance ministry to release Rs450 million for around 62 projects but spent it on private media campaign (print and electronic), revealed the documents exclusively obtained by The Express Tribune.

The popular campaigns ran with public money including ‘go ka matlab’, ‘riyasat par dhawa’, political stability, ‘PTV par hamla’, testimonials and ‘qaum ki awaz’. These were mainly the packages aired on private television channels to assuage and gratify the audiences from participating in the sit-ins and “exposing hidden agendas” as Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid used to say while appearing in press conferences.

The total amount released for the electronic advertisements is Rs428 million.

The highest amount of Rs59.3 million was spent on November 29 about the August 29, 2014 attack on Parliament when workers of both the parties stormed the Parliament House’s outer fence.

The videos duration ranged from one to five minutes about claims of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri coupled with their workers attack on the government buildings on the Constitution Avenue and the alleged damage to the economy.

The first of its campaign on electronic media was aired on August 13 last year when PTI-PAT started their long-march from Lahore. The government placed ads of Rs11 million in the name of creating “public awareness”.

For print media, Rs19 million were released for ads about attack on PTV, parliament and “curse of sit-in”.

The advertisements were released through prime advertising agencies like Midas Communications, Interlink, Adgroup etc.

Interestingly, the three summaries approved of 62 campaigns during the last year only two advertisement campaigns were related to the education sector. One is PM’s fee reimbursement scheme for students of under-developed areas and PM laptop scheme. A campaign last year “11 months achievements of federal government” was broadcast from May 7 to 11 at a cost of Rs54 million.

Pakistan Peoples Party senator Farhatullah Babar said if the figures are true then he strongly condemns the spending of public money for political purposes and will raise this issue before the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting. “We will call for the audit of the expenditure,” he added.

Awami National Party’s former senator Afrasiab Khattak blamed both the government and PTI for waste of public money on such issues.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Nasir khattak
    Apr 17, 2015 - 9:29AM

    Geo did earn the most, I bet.Recommend

  • Taimoor
    Apr 17, 2015 - 9:35AM

    If this isn’t criminal, then I don’t know what is. The dharnas were an incredibly stupid idea from PTI and PAT who accomplished absolutely nothing, but actually spending money from the national exchequer for political gains is grounds for impeachment. Recommend

  • Neutralist
    Apr 17, 2015 - 9:52AM

    Pervaiz Rashid accused PTI and Imran Khan of using the money of a public limited company JWD Sugar mills. Even if he is true, PTI used the money of a single company but ruling party robbed the national exchequer. Recommend

  • terba
    Apr 17, 2015 - 10:21AM

    Rather than countering the political rivals’ accusations through better governance, the government decided to rob the public’s money to broadcast its flimsy retort. How ridiculous!Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 17, 2015 - 11:18AM

    Tip of an iceberg! I think Tribune forgot one zero! IB released 4 billions to manage media and anchorpersons, remember?Recommend

  • fair
    Apr 17, 2015 - 11:49AM

    good,, i really appreciate you dear, peoples like you are having the word en-craved on their bodies namely “client mentality”,condition endures treatmentt after hundseds of years to ride of this syndromeRecommend

  • fair
    Apr 17, 2015 - 11:53AM

    if pm of any democratic country having had drawn this money from national Exchequer, would have been sacked so for Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:01PM

    No harm in spending such amounts when the state was under attack by as assorted cast of thugs who conspired to instigate mayhem, anarchy and civil war under the aegis of “London Plan.” Recommend

  • KK Kool
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:06PM

    Finance minister was right in his claim of loss incurred due to dharnas but hid these spendings. Probably because PTI and PAT were responsible for such kind of spending. Please register a petition in Supreme Court to recover this money from PTI and PAT instead of taking account of Babus.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:12PM

    ….and the ultimate looser was the people.Recommend

  • fair
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:15PM

    kpk govt is doing the best of the kpk history in certain areas of dire need and every a single man would witness the sustainable changes in kpk but imran never allow this to be advertise it but we feel fed up of Sharif faces on national press which costing high to national exchequer Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:19PM

    Invoices were over valued by ministry of information in connivance with media managers. Will Pervez Rashid clarify his position?Recommend

  • pakis92
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:20PM

    no idea what MR. Khan and Mr Qadri paid to the private TV channels for giving them toooo much air time. Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:29PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    why govt has proposed a judicial commission if imran and allies were non-state actors Recommend

  • Fawad
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:32PM

    If this is not corruption then what is?Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:35PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    some time i thought after going through your comments i should also slap on my face after having had addressed your comments, Recommend

  • fair
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:44PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    we are waiting civil war to bring sharifs to justice like Qaddafi. you are are growing fate on public money and enjoying perks and privileges we have lost our loved once due to these thugs,Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:51PM


    why govt has proposed a judicial commission if imran and allies were non-state actors

    To expose these characters to all and sundry and to open the eyes of blind followers such as yourself that all that glitters ain’t gold.Recommend

  • fair
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:51PM

    i would like to say one word corrupt lot reproved Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 17, 2015 - 12:58PM


    some time i thought after going through your comments i should also slap on my face after having had addressed your comments,

    You should never delay executing a noble deed. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 17, 2015 - 1:01PM


    Go to Libya or Yemen my friend. No place for anarchists and arsonists in Pakistan.Recommend

  • javed Iqbal
    Apr 17, 2015 - 1:15PM

    Shame on rulers or shame on us who vote for this kind of rulers Recommend

  • Frank
    Apr 17, 2015 - 1:21PM

    Go, Nawaz, go!Recommend

  • Gramscian
    Apr 17, 2015 - 1:54PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: ‘You should never delay executing a noble deed’.

    Your sophomore attempts to impress by using big words nothwithstanding, you do need a class in English composition. ‘Execute a noble deed’. Funny.Recommend

  • Shabaz Ali
    Apr 17, 2015 - 2:24PM

    PM Nawaz had an opportunity to go down in Pakistani history, yet his ‘naseeb’ are such that he not only ignored it, but managed to convince the nation that he is simply there to hold onto power, regardless of the means used to attain it.

    should this commission return a verdict inline with the general consensus i find it difficult to credit anyone other then Imran Khan.Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 17, 2015 - 2:36PM

    gullu butt of ET a name being proposed for you if you don’t mind, it is not sort of word unknown to masses sharif s have made their efforts to get gullu post on oxford dictionaryRecommend

  • SAK
    Apr 17, 2015 - 2:42PM

    Shameless, criminal and absolutely pathetic!!! Recommend

  • Shakil
    Apr 17, 2015 - 3:54PM

    I am sure if this money was spend on people uplifting that will have much better impact at grass root for PMLn Government.

    Public money handed out to media outlets – both should ashamed of themselves.Recommend

  • Gramscian
    Apr 17, 2015 - 4:12PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: Really? Why did not your king do it right after the elections? Why wait for more than a year and the dharnas?

    Expected darbari reply: Because NS wanted IK to expose himself by giving the dharnas. That is why he waited so long.

    And did not NS himself say in Haripur (just a week ago) that rigging in 2013 elections did take place, but he kind of ignored it to save the system. This after his tall claims all along that 2013 elections were the most fair in history. It rarely gets more stupid than this, but Sharif’s biggest problem is his brain (or lack thereof).Recommend

  • Blithe
    Apr 17, 2015 - 6:51PM

    A Civilised approach by the government when these miscreants had started attacking policemen and destroying state buildings Recommend

  • concerned citizen
    Apr 17, 2015 - 8:55PM

    You seem like a literate person, which is why your comments disappoints me even more. I think you forget that even pmln attacked the supreme court. So I’m assuming you think it’s fine for our politicians to think of the national exchequer as their personal piggy bank. You sir are a part of the problem. I utterly detest it when learned people support these idiotic politicians especially these fatsos who pretend as if we serve them when it is the other way around. You think its civilised what they did robbing the public of money for personal gains. You know what I take it back you’re just an idiot who knows proper English.Recommend

  • Shabaz Ali
    Apr 18, 2015 - 12:23AM

    @Blithe: A government formed firstly on a questionable mandate… One I should point out which was also questioned by PML-N… I’m sure your short memory is on one of convenience… Nawaz also attacked a state government…. The Supreme Court no lessRecommend

  • Ranjha
    Apr 18, 2015 - 12:51AM

    @concerned citizen:

    There is a big difference between literate and intelligent, and even bigger between darbaris and patriotic Pakistanis.

    Don’t be disappointed–this is to be expected!Recommend

  • Sana
    Apr 18, 2015 - 1:32AM

    After metro, motorway, laptops another stunt to loot the exchequer. Pakistani nation standing there watching like a village idiot. Lol…Recommend

  • Malveros
    Apr 18, 2015 - 8:31AM

    It is a face saving given to PTI to come back to Parliament otherwise PTI would have stayed on the roads for the next 3 years.Recommend

  • Malveros
    Apr 18, 2015 - 8:36AM

    Don’t be so naive. It is a definite face saving given to an immature chap called IK for coming back to Parliament. Alas he would be a wasted commodity on the roads till next elections where again he will be a loser.Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 18, 2015 - 9:52AM

    hahaha face saving given by nawaz govt which even could not help stop killing of 14 peoples at the spot on a false pretext that is govt likely to be toppled, fear of street movement and repercussion of violence as foreseen by stalwarts of govt forced the butt brethren to give this space Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 18, 2015 - 10:00AM

    philosopher plz have patience , you with your bosses have not in contract with peoples to rules them, peoples will forget who were sharifs? where did they come from,?Recommend

  • reader
    Apr 18, 2015 - 8:54PM

    what a surprise. that is such a tiny amount.Recommend

  • Schumaila
    Apr 18, 2015 - 11:51PM

    @ Adnan siddiqui, Taimor and alikes.. Its people like you who bring curse (shareefs) on whole Pakistani nation. Recommend

  • Shahid
    Apr 19, 2015 - 10:53AM

    If the Govt had spent Rs450 millions on anti-sit ins advertisements,I wonder how much had been spent on theorganization of the Dharnas by PTI and PAT? What a loss of money for nothing!Recommend

  • Hugh Slaman
    Apr 20, 2015 - 4:36AM

    Have you thought about the difference between spending a party’s own funds, and spending funds from the public treasury?Recommend

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