Lahore:A spokesman of the Punjab government, while referring to the press release issued by APNS to the press in which All Pakistan Newspapers Society has expressed its concerns over the registration of FIR against Inam Akbar, Chief Executive, Midas Pvt. Limited, and termed it unilateral action against the said agency, has clarified that Government of the Punjab constituted a committee vide notification No. SO(P&C)V-10/2009(P) under the convener-ship of Senator Pervaiz Rashid and comprising the Secretary IC&YA, Secretary Finance, Addl. IG Punjab, President APNS, Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami, Arif Nizami, President CPNE, Dr. Jabbar Khattak, Secretary General APNS, Syed Sarmad Ali, Director Jang Group as members, on the issues of Midas. The said committee held its meeting on 5th August, 2009 and unanimously decided that in view of the lengthy process involved in the selection of audit firms, the accounts of DGPR Punjab be audited from the Auditor General Pakistan. Copy of the audit report has already been sent to APNS vide letter No. SO(P&C)V-27/2009 dated June 22, 2011, as per decisions and minutes of the joint committee. Therefore, the spokesman said the stance of the APNS that Punjab government failed to hold a single meeting of the committee is not based on facts. The spokesman said the Deputy Secretary (Planning) of Information & Culture Department vide letter No. SO.P&C(INF)1-1/2011, dated February 17, 2011 requested to the APNS to persuade the management of Midas Pvt. Limited to pay back the recovery of Rs.63,25,90,464 to the government as pointed out by the audit but of no avail.
The spokesman pointed out that Anti Corruption Establishment has lodged the FIR, after holding proper enquiry on the matter of bogus payment of Punjab Development Fund Advertisements. The said enquiry was lying pending for the last three years in Anti Corruption Establishment and Midas also joined the enquiry proceedings being conducted by the Anti Corruption Establishment. Moreover, the case has been registered against the officers of DGPR and the Chief Executive Midas, therefore it is not justified to say that it is unilateral action against the said agency.
Moreover, the spokesman said, a writ petition was filed by senior journalists Mr. Hamid Meer and Mr. Absar Alam Haider in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking orders for DG Anti Corruption to complete the inquiry process lying pending for the last three years. Similarly, a Writ Petition has also been filed by the Transparency International Pakistan in the Apex Court on the above subject matter. Now the matter is subjudice in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and progress in the case would be submitted to the Apex Court accordingly. Midas should have complete trust in the independent judiciary and it should seek any sort of relief from the Apex Court. The Government of the Punjab at this stage cannot interfere in the transparent investigation proceedings. The spokesman said that the impression that the registration of case against Midas is due to some political victimization is totally wrong.
The spokesman said that the Chief Executive Midas may join the investigation as the officers of DGPR are doing and can produce documentary evidences of its innocence, if any, before the Investigation Officer for its acquittal from the case. Registration of case does not mean that one cannot furnish proofs of one’s innocence. The spokesman further stated that it is pertinent to mention here that out of the proposed recovery of Rs. 63,25,90,464/- pointed out by the team of Auditor General, an amount of Rs. 9,43,86,075/- relates to the advertisements of print media while the remaining recovery pertains to electronic media advertisements bills, which obviously does not come within the purview of APNS.
The Government of the Punjab re-assures its commitment that it will ensure transparent, free and fair investigation on merit in the said case as per laws of justice and no discrimination or preferential treatment will be meted out with anybody. At the same time it expects full cooperation and support from the APNS in the interest of justice, the spokesman added.