The Lahore High Court on Monday expressed concerns about the utilization of public funds in advertisement campaigns showcasing caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi for various development projects.
Justice Sultan Tanvir Ahmad, while presiding over the case, voiced concerns that taxes collected from the public should be spent judiciously and not misused for self-promotion.
A citizen, Hafiz Israrul Haq, filed a writ petition on November 17, challenging the actions taken to promote the caretaker chief minister on the construction of flyovers in the city.
The judge declared that those who promoted themselves with public money would be held accountable.
The petition stated, “The Govt. of Punjab designed a plan in order to construct a flyover at Shahdara Chowk to facilitate the public and started to construct the Fly over at Shahdara Chowk Lahore to make smooth flow of traffic as it is the duty of the Govt. to create easiness in the life of the inhabitants and to facilitate them but the Govt. of Punjab after completion of Construction of project of Fly Over started to advertise on electronic, Print Media and by displaying flexes/ sign board to make publicity with the name and style of “MUHSIN SPEED” which they are not authorized as if they have completed the work before time it is not permitted to advertise the same from the public exchequer rather they may advertise for publicity from their pockets not form the public money.”
Shahdara Flyover is now open, completed in less than 6 months, providing a seamless route for city traffic going out and miving inside the city. This transformative project is set to elevate Shahdara, drawing comparisons to posh neighborhoods in Lahore. Ravi Bridge work is… pic.twitter.com/EBGymgGZh6— Mohsin Naqvi (@MohsinnaqviC42) November 17, 2023
The judge summoned a complete record of the expenses incurred for an advertisement campaign for the construction of flyovers featuring the caretaker chief minister.
Additionally, the Court directed the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to present a thorough record of the construction of the flyovers at the upcoming hearing.
The move underscores the court’s commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in the expenditure of public funds.
A similar issue arose in 2018 when then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, took suo motu notice against media advertisements by the provincial government featuring images of then Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the lead-up to the general elections.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court ordered Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to reimburse the national exchequer Rs5.5 million on March 8, 2018.
A Punjab government newspaper advertisement carrying his photograph was displayed in court during the hearing.