Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: In a special press conference called on Friday, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira urged Pakistan's media organisations to exercise caution in reporting “matters of sensitive nature”.

Kaira said that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf did not appoint former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) chief Tauqir Sadiq, and urged news organisations not to conduct a media trial of the prime minister.

Sadiq, who is said to have fled the country, has allegedly caused a loss of Rs 83 billion to the national exchequer during his time as Ogra chief, and the Supreme Court had declared his appointment illegal and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate corruption cases against him within 45 days.

On Thursday, the apex court ordered NAB to file within a week two corruption references in the Tauqir Sadiq case. One of the references points a finger at the prime minister who had allegedly approved Sadiq’s appointment as Ogra chairman.

Speaking at the press conference, Kaira said that the former Ogra chairman was not appointed by Ashraf but by former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the recommendations of a committee headed by Ashraf, then serving as Federal Minister for Water and Power.

Kaira urged the media exercise caution while reporting on such “sensitive matters”.

Criticising the media on the Tauqi Sadiq case, Kaira said that television talk shows delve in discussions on courtroom remarks, which is tantamount to influencing the legal proceedings.

“The democratic government is always open to accountability, but a media trial is not justified,” he said.

The information minister further asked that if the former Ogra chief had committed a crime, then why is a media trial of the prime minister being conducted.

Kaira said that the federal government was facing considerable pressure over Sadiq’s corruption and his escape from the country. He said that the matter was also discussed during a meeting of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) core committee, and that he was instructed to present the government's stance to the media.

Speaking about a case involving the death of a NAB official investigating the Rental Power projects case, Kaira said that forensic investigation was underway over Kamran Faisal’s death, and that facts would be presented when the probed is completed.

Updated Jan 25, 2013 05:22pm

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