PPP spent lavishly on the media, budget documents show
By: Ahmad Noorani
ISLAMABAD: A perusal of the supplementary grants of the outgoing financial year show how mercilessly public funds were used by almost all the ministries, especially ex-information ministry bosses who spent millions on Press Clubs and newspapers.But apparently the PML-N dominated lower house of the parliament seems not ready to approve this lavish extravaganza, though the Information Ministry wants them to pass it.
Public money was drained out so heartlessly that Press Information Department (PID), a subordinate department of federal ministry of information, spent Rs22,263,000 simply to celebrate the “event” of 100th federal cabinet meeting of the PPP government.
During coverage of this event Rs1, 558,000 were spent on purchase of still cameras for the coverage of the prime minister. Rs143,000 were spent merely as token money during these ‘celebrations’.
No one knows what was the utility of spending this much money for the nation. No one is even aware where these still cameras are now and why token money was bestowed from the poor tax payers’ money. Beyond all, now Pervez Rashid-led information ministry wants to get this money approved by the newly elected National Assembly.
After doing all this, the major issue is to appease the media; Rs10,000,000 was given to Islamabad Press Club from tax payers’ money without any justification. Similarly, Rs5,000,000 was given to one Hyderabad Press Club (HPC).
Nobody is aware of justification of donating such huge moneys to Press Clubs administrated and operated by journalists with funds generated by themselves. There has been no proper audit of spending of these moneys and these amounts are wasted by influential people.
Rs50,000,000 were wasted on training of young journalists from Pakistan and other Saarc countries under some Trust for South Asian Media School while majority is not aware when and where same event took place.
Beyond all this a huge sum of Rs35,604,000 was spent on mysterious execution of the project “Media Monitoring and Tracking Center” with token grants of Rs23,000.This was a mega scandal of previous government and top officials of ministry believe that given the high moral grounds maintained by PML-N during its election campaign, present government will not approve and will receive this money from the plunderers.