The President of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, Nawaz Sharif, held a rally in Dera Ghazi Khan on Wednesday which was paid for by the government of Punjab, it has been revealed. As it was a party rally, and Nawaz Sharif does not hold any public office, the use of public funds for the event is strictly illegal.
Nawaz Sharif has been on a whirlwind tour of Sindh and southern Punjab as he tries to reignite flailing support for his party and agitate against the Pakistan People’s Party led federal government.
Sources have suggested that directives were issued to the Commissioner of DG Khan by the government of Punjab to make arrangements for the rally prior to Sharif’s arrival. 4 million PKR of the public’s money were spent in total for Sharif’s visit. 1 million each were issued to the 4 District Coordination Officers in DG Khan.
The money was used to rent around 9000 chairs and tents that were setup in a stadium for the rally. Money was directly paid to PML-N party workers as well as local patwaris, who were directed to gather supporters and provide means of transport for them to reach the rally site.
To cover up for the illegal measures taken, the local administration, in an absurd move, falsified records to show that the money was spent on a visit not by Nawaz, but by Shahbaz Sharif. Shahbaz Sharif is the brother of Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister of the province of Punjab. However he was not even present in DG Khan on Wednesday, when the rally was held.
“We can’t show Nawaz Sharif’s visit in DG Khan in our expenditures details since he is not entitled to this, so we have showed Shahbaz Sharif’s visit in our [expenditure] heads,” said one senior official in the DG Khan Division administration.
DG Khan Commissioner denied the allegations and turned spokesman for the PML-N saying “the party has borne all the expenses.”
Senior PML-N leaders were unavailable for comment on the matter.
Allegations of the sort are nothing new for Nawaz Sharif and his party, who have been known to misuse authority and have faced severe allegations in the past as well.