SC imposes Rs1.4m fine on Sindh CM over ad featuring his photo


–Bench gives Murad Ali Shah 10 days to either pay fine from his own pocket or take money from party

–Court rejects KP info secy’s report on ad campaign containing Pervez Khattak’s photos


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs1.4 million on Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah over a government advertisement that had displayed his photograph.

These directives were issued as the top court heard a suo moto case pertaining to government-sponsored media advertisements.

As a three-member bench headed by the top judge and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Faisal Arbab heard the case, the court gave the Sindh CM a 10-day deadline to pay the amount, either from his own pocket or using his party, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) funds.

Justice Nisar reminded Shah that former Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif had paid Rs5 million as a penalty for an advertisement with his photograph.

The court also expressed its dissatisfaction with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) information secretary’s report on a 10-day campaign featuring former chief minister Pervez Khattak’s photos in which he had sought 10 days to submit a reply.

The apex judge also rebuked the information secretary for “trying to protect a political figure despite being a government official”.

The court then adjourned the hearing and gave the KP government till Monday to submit a reply in the matter.

In April, Justice Nisar had issued an order disallowing all electronic and print media organisations from featuring the pictures of political leaders in government-sponsored advertisements.

He had issued these remarks while hearing a suo moto case pertaining to government’s awarding of advertisements to media ‘at nation’s expense’.

“The court prohibits the use of pictures in government ads in electronic and print media from this point onwards,” he had remarked.

The chief justice had made it clear to the provincial governments to stop spending taxpayers’ money on self-promotion through advertisements. “We would not allow the taxpayers’ money to be spent lavishly on political advertisements,” he had said.