Pak govt officials may face action for congratulatory ads

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned strict action against government officials who issue advertisements to congratulate him.

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday warned "strict action" against government officials who issue advertisements to congratulate him on his PML-N party`s victory in the recent General Election.

Sharif, 63, who has become Premier for a record third term, barred ministries and government bodies from issuing advertisements to felicitate, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

He was quoted as saying that "national wealth should not be wasted on such advertisements".

The Premier warned "strict action" will be taken against those who violated his directive.

Over the past few days, Pakistani newspapers have been replete with advertisements congratulating Sharif and the PML-N on the election victory.

Most of the advertisements were issued by trade lobbies and industrial houses while several were issued by government bodies.

Sharif said the heads of government departments would have to pay the amount spent on such advertisements.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister`s Office too said Sharif had expressed his concern at advertisements in the national media sponsored by government departments and public sector organisations to congratulate him on becoming the Prime Minister.

"The Prime Minister has taken strict notice of these advertisements and issued directives to relevant authorities to present before him the replies to show cause notices issued to National Highway and Motorway Police and National Bank of Pakistan for further necessary orders in the matter," the spokesman said.

Sharif acknowledges the love and affection of the country and the emotions of his supporters but wants them to "concentrate on nation building rather than sending congratulatory messages", the spokesman said.

The state-run National Bank of Pakistan and Motorway Police chief Zafar Abbas Luk had issued their advertisements to several national dailies.

The move was criticised by the media, especially in light of Sharif`s commitment to cut unnecessary government spending.