THE Election Commission of Pakistan deserves to be congratulated for its righteous and bold decision to ban the use of public money for advertisements given by the federal and provincial governments to promote their parties.
The ban would apply to advertisements appearing in the print or electronic media, bearing party logo, party name, images of party leaders and directly or indirectly promoting any party or candidate.
The news report does not clarify whether the ban will be restricted to the print and electronic media or will also cover other modes of publicity like large hoardings erected at strategic points or sudden upsurge in public welfare schemes and projects, though I do admit in case of such schemes it may not always be possible to determine as to whether they fall in the realm of pure publicity or genuine welfare.
The move signifies a serious attempt by the Election Commission of Pakistan to provide a level playing field to all parties participating in the election. It will benefit even the parties involved in such campaigns.
Believe me, people facing multiple problems of the worst kind are not too impressed by attempts to persuade them to think that they have been far better off than they ‘mistakenly’ believe.
It only irritates them and arouses feeling of anger, even hatred, also for the reason that scarce state funds thus wasted could have been used in a productive manner to be of some benefit to the masses.
S.R.H. HASHMI Karachi