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LAHORE: The chief minister’s public relationing team put him in an awkward position by resorting to ‘Photoshop’ while publishing his picture in newspapers in the Punjab government’s health-specific media campaign.

Shahbaz Sharif ordered an inquiry into the matter and directed the authorities concerned to initiate process to blacklist the advertising agency responsible for tampering with the picture of a foreigner.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is quick to describe it as the “handiwork of Shahbaz Sharif himself”.

The Punjab government’s advertisement regarding allocation of Rs6 billion for 40 district headquarters hospitals in the province appeared in the newspapers this past week. In the picture Shahbaz Sharif is exuding a ‘slim’ look suggesting that he has shed a lot of weight. But it transpired that it was a picture of Michael J. Revness which was photoshopped to make it that of Shahbaz Sharif.

Ad agency set to be blacklisted

Michael is a leading legal authority in the security alarm industry, where he serves as general counsel to the Pennsylvania Fire and Burglar Alarm Association and the New Jersey Electronic Security Association.

“The blunder has also exposed the work of those the chief minister has hired for such media campaigns and other related matters,” a source said, adding that Mr Sharif not only expressed his displeasure but also asked his team to be careful in future. He said those involved in the photoshop could be tried for cyber crime under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act.

“It remains to be seen whether the government’s inquiry looks into this (cyber crime) aspect,” he said.

The PTI exploited the blunder of the chief minister’s media team. “Shahbaz continues his fraud with the people,” PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq tweeted.

Director General Public Relations Raja Jehangir told Dawn that the government had immediately suspended the contract with the advertising company responsible for this blunder. “A process of blacklisting the company has been initiated. An inquiry into the matter has also been launched and it will be ensured that no such thing happens in the future,” Mr Jehangir said.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2017