23 July, 2014 / Ramazan 24, 1435

Kaira_AFP_670
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, Sept 10: The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira, urged the Supreme Court on Monday to take action against people who had misguided it that his ministry operated secret funds.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, he held “a leader of an opposition party” responsible for the ‘propaganda’, asking him to share evidence with the nation.

Mr Kaira was recalling a claim made by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, that he had documentary evidence the government was using a secret fund to lavish fabulous sums on “certain journalists”.

He said recording of phone was responsibility of secret agencies and the opposition leader should tell the nation to which agency he belonged to.

Mr Kaira said the total budget of the ministry was Rs5.58 billion of which Rs3.4 billion was allocated for Radio Pakistan because it was not a profitable organisation.

He said that Rs250 million had been earmarked for Pakistan Television to install and run boosters in remote areas of the country.

“We have a number of organisations, including the Directorate of Film and Publications (DFP), Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) and Press Information Department (PID) and Rs530 million was allocated for press attachés abroad,” he said.

About the secret fund, Mr Kaira said that Rs100 million was reserved for special publicity and a small amount of Rs12 million kept under the head of secret fund.

“This amount is meant for treatment of ailing journalists, their family members and marriage of journalists’ daughters.”

The minister said he would not disclose the names of journalists being provided financial assistance by the ministry.

Expenses on trips made by journalists invited to the capital from cities and countries were met from this head, he added.

Mr Kaira said that press clubs in several parts of the country were also supported from the fund.

The minister assured the court that record would be produced during the next hearing.

Qamar Zaman Kaira wondered how could billions of rupees be distributed among journalists when the total amount allocated for media was just Rs12 million.

About his foreign tour, the minister said he visited Norway and Spain on the invitation of Pakistani community to attend their annual functions.

He also inaugurated offices of the Oslo-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Sales Agent.

About the allegations levelled by the Transparency International over the secret fund, he asked the organisation to clear its position; otherwise, he would take it to court for clearing his position.

He urged the media to “inform the nation that a provincial government has allocated a staggering sum for publicity campaigns”.—APP

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Comments (5) (Closed)


Raja Mehtab Satti
Sep 12, 2012 04:16am
Kaira said that “This amount is meant for treatment of ailing journalists, their family members and marriage of journalists’ daughters.” . the question is why the Government of Kaira do not keeps these types of Secret funds for the poor people of pakistan, what is the reason that they only spend whole the money for Specially Journalists'Daughters?
M. Asghar
Sep 11, 2012 09:58am
This mess of the secret-funds and their utlisation for partisan ends has to cleared by the Apex Court in a nonrepeatable and accountable manner.
Ye Z
Sep 11, 2012 06:43am
If only we could get rid of the PPP-led government.
Zaheer
Sep 12, 2012 09:24am
No comment or condemnation for use of secret funds by any government or agency? What about ISI money used to corrupt election resultsin the past? If only we could talk about real issues and matters of principles, we wouldn't be is such mess. What if the present PPP led government won again with a bigger majority? Grow up and face realities.
Irfan
Sep 11, 2012 10:12am
Simple, dont vote for PPP. But bear in mind, you cannot dictate nor can the government be formed on your whims and wishes. It is the majority who decides, and if you are a part of the minority, then no one can help you.