A bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain passed the order during the hearing of a petition filed by senior journalists Hamid Mir and Absar Alam at the Quetta registry of the apex court.     —AFP/File Photo

QUETTA: The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday to freeze secret funds of the federal ministry of information and broadcasting.

A bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain passed the order during the hearing of a petition filed by senior journalists Hamid Mir and Absar Alam at the Quetta registry of the apex court.

Petitioners Hamid Mir, Absar Alam and advocate Munir Malik, who represented three private channels, pleaded that secret funds of the ministry should be abolished because the government used the money for distribution among journalists of its choice to stop publishing facts.

They informed the court that the budget of the ministry’s secret funds had been increased from Rs2.14 billion to Rs4 billon in the current financial year.

A representative of the ministry opposed the plea of the petitioners and denied the allegations levelled by them.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain wondered why the ministry needed secret funds. “The information and broadcasting ministry’s budget should be open to everybody,” he said, adding that the funds of the ministry should not be used wrongly.

The court asked the ministry’s representative to submit details of secret funds during the next hearing on Sept 11 and ordered that the funds should be frozen till then.

Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja said the distribution of advertisements should be transparent.

Representatives of Duniya TV and other private television channels submitted their statements in the court.

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