ISLAMABAD, Sept 12: Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday again accused President Asif Ali Zardari of ‘siphoning off” the national exchequer to fund ‘selected persons’ in the media and challenged the government to drag him to the court if his allegations were false.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, the PML-N leader claimed he had all the evidence to prove how President Zardari was using the budget allocated for the government advertisements worth billions of rupees in luring the TV anchors and journalists to switch from one TV channel to another on huge salaries and other perks.

“If my allegations are wrong, then file a defamation suit against me. I am openly challenging you,” he said while responding to a statement of Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira who had earlier rejected the allegations as part of a propaganda campaign and called for an action against those who were allegedly misguiding the court on the issue of secret fund.

The controversy regarding the use of official resources and secret funds of the information ministry erupted last month when Chaudhry Nisar accused President Zardari of indulging in pre-poll rigging by ‘buying’ some media persons. He alleged that Rs2 billion to Rs4 billion had already been channelled and another Rs4 billion had been earmarked for distribution among some TV channels before general elections.

When journalists’ organisations and some political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, asked him to identify the beneficiary journalists, the PML-N leader clarified that he had not accused any of the genuine and independent media person and that he was talking about the elements who had disguised themselves as journalists.

“All I want to say that there is a cell in the President’s House which, under the supervision of Asif Zardari, is siphoning off the money of the people of Pakistan. One particular (advertisement) agency is being used,” he alleged.

Updated Sep 12, 2012 09:32pm

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