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At the stroke of midnight on Sunday, May 02, 2010, the Press Information Department in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan will be suspended for default by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) for the first time in its history. This means that from Monday, May 03, 2010, no Federal Govt. advertisement will appear in any of the over 300 newspapers and periodicals across Pakistan. The Press Information Department owes upto Rs.900 million in unpaid dues for advertisements  appearing in the national press, with some of the unpaid bills extending as far back as the year 2000.


We at the APNS have repeatedly sounded the warning  that the unethical advertising by the Press Information Department in bogus publications since the past 20 years would one day take the Federal Ministry to the verge of default and that such corrupt malpractices must cease forthwith. Today, the default is a reality and such a default has prevented genuine dues from being paid for advertising appearing in the national press. Today, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira has reneged on his unequivocal promise to pay our legitimate dues as per his final assurance on March 10, 2010, minuted in the meeting of the Ministry.


Fifty days have lapsed since the promised commitment  – 50 days of prevarication, excuses and downright lies. It is a well known fact that most government advertising is released at a mere ten percent of the rates paid  by private advertisers in newspapers,  and this rate has not been raised since 2001.


The time is now ripe for the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari and the Prime Minister, Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani to take decisive executive action to prevent a default for the Pakistani Government that would adversely impact on its credit worthiness both at home and abroad. It is also in the fitness of things that the honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan initiate an inquiry into the persistent malpractices that characterize the misallocation and illegal siphoning of government advertising and thus public moneys since our inception as a nation.