Three separate ‘congratulatory’ messages by the senior minister on Independence Day printed in a single newspaper
Islamabad, August 14: Muhammad Jafar, a senior minister of the Gilgit – Baltistan government, has set a new example of abusing public funds by issuing three separate advertisements to three editions of a single newspaper on independence day of Pakistan.
The minister, holding portfolios of the ministry of Food and Agriculture, has apparently used public money to pay for three separate ‘congratulatory’ advertisements, one each as a senior minister, food minister and minister for agriculture. Each advertisement is quarter page in size, colored and printed on front and back sides of the newspaper’s three separate editions.
This implies that the senior minister paid 500 percent extra money to get the advertisements printed in all three editions of the newspaper, collectively 9 advertisements at the rate of 1200 rupees per column centimeter. In terms of money the total amount spent on these useless advertisements equals to around one million rupees (10 lac), at least.
The wastage of public money by a senior cabinet member in a situation where thousands of people in the entire region have been displaced from their houses and four villages have been completely destroyed, including one in the minister’s constituency, Ghanche, is a tragic commentary on the state of affairs. At least 120 people have been killed by the unprecedented catastrophe in GB and the cabinet is begging aid from the federal government. In this situation the minister’s extravaganza exposes his lack of interest in providing relief for the displaced people. It also reflects Mehdi Shah’s inability to discipline his cabinet members.
The self glorifying minister apparently has not felt a grain of shame for brandishing his not-so-good photographs on the front and back pages of this newspaper along with other leaders at the cost of scarce and much needed public money. Interestingly the qualification section of the said minister on website of the Gilgit – Baltistan (click to open) government is empty!
The newspaper which generally gives cherubic advises to the government on good governance and sensible usage of public money has apparently been dazzled by the advert money.
There is a need to launch investigation against the senior minister for wasting valuable public money for self glorification, more than anything. There is a possibly that the minister is trying to buy the newspaper’s loyalty by spending public money.
It is also a pity that similar advertisements have been given by the governor and other members of GB cabinet in the same newspaper. At the time of this report’s compilation other newspapers of the region are not available for analysis. However, it is highly likely that other newspapers of the region would also carry such useless and redundant messages. In such a case the total cost of ‘congratulatory’ messages is likely to increase exponentially, mocking the flood affected people who are waiting in despair for relief and rehabilitation.