Kaira urges action against people misguiding SC on secret fund
11 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the allegation that his ministry had a secret fund, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Monday urged the Supreme Court to take action against the people who had misguided it on this issue.
Talking to media outside the Parliament House, he said that the total budget of the ministry was Rs 5.58 billion, out of which Rs 3.4 billion were allocated for Radio Pakistan as it was not an earning organisation. Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Rs 250 million have been earmarked for Pakistan Television to install and run boosters in the remote areas of the country.
"We have a number of organisations, including Directorate of Film and Publications (DFP), Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) and Press Information Department (PID) while Rs 530 million are allocated for press attaches abroad," he added. About the secret fund, Kaira clarified that Rs 100 million were reserved for special publicity while a small amount of Rs 12 million was kept under the head of secret fund.
This amount is meant for the treatment of the ailing journalists, their family members and marriage of journalists' daughters.
However, the minister said he would not disclose the names of journalists being provided financial assistance by the ministry. He said that newspersons of various cities and countries were invited to visit Pakistan and they were looked after from this budgetary allocation.
The minister said that press clubs of the country were also supported from this fund.
He, however, said that allegations of secret fund of Rs 4 billion or more were totally false, fabricated and baseless.
The minister assured that all relevant record would be produced before the court on the next hearing. It is the responsibility of the court to take stern action against those who tried to use the judiciary and spread misperception, he added.
Kaira regretted that he was not consulted by the media before publishing news regarding the secret fund as he remained available on phone during his visit abroad.
He said it was not responsible attitude to take secret fund issue to the court without proper and authentic information.
Kaira said how could billions of rupees be distributed to the media when the total amount allocated for welfare of media persons was just Rs 12 million.
He regretted that the propaganda campaign was started by a leader of the opposition party who should share documentary proof of distribution of fund, he claims to have, with the nation.
He said tapping of phones was the responsibility of the secret agencies and the aforementioned leader should tell the nation to which agency he belonged to.
To a question, Kaira said, his discretionary fund is about Rs 0.6 million. About his foreign tours, the minister said he visited Norway and Spain on the invitation of Pakistani community to attend their annual functions.
He also inaugurated office of the Oslo-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber will help enhance bilateral trade between the two countries. He also inaugurated the office of General Sales Agent. Replying to a question regarding the visit of United Nations Working Group on disappearances, he said the government will facilitate the commission.
A commission constituted by the Supreme Court is already working under the chairmanship of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal. Prior to the commission it was alleged that the number of missing persons was in thousands, but after scrutiny they came out to be less than 120.
To another question he said the coalition partners should talk about the anomalies in the Local Bodies Ordinance. To the allegations of Transparency International regarding the secret fund he asked it to clear its position on the issue otherwise he would take it to the court of law for clearing his position. He urged media to highlight that one of the provinces had allocated huge funds for publicity campaign.