Senate panel seeks details of travel expenses of PMs, CMs

ISLAMABAD, Apr 27 (APP): The Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Wednesday issued directives for provision of details of expenditure incurred on foreign and domestic travel of all the prime ministers and chief ministers since 2008.

The committee, which met here with Senator Faisal Javed in the chair, issued the directives while discussing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb informed the meeting that the prime minister would himself bear the expenses of his visit to Saudi Arabia and all members of his delegation would also do so.

The Information Ministry officials gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the “Digital Radio Migration” project. The committee was informed that the DRM project would be completed in seven years at the cost of Rs 7,540 million.

It was informed that a new 1000 kw DRM medium wave transmitter would be installed at Rawat in the first phase, and two new 200 KW DRM medium wave transmitters at Lahore and Pesahwar in the second phase. Similarly four new 100 KW DRM medium wave transmitters would be installed in Quetta, Multan, D I Khan and Skardu.

The committee was informed that seven DRM+FM transmitters of 5 KW power each would be installed in Quetta, Peshawar, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Narowal, Chitral and Bahawalpur at the existing radio stations.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Chairman Saleem Baig gave a briefing on the issues related to the closure of transmission of various TV channels and issuance of notices by PEMRA. He said the Authority had not issued any instructions to close any channel.

He categorically said the ARY broadcasts were not stopped on the PTCL Smart TV. The PTCL officials were contacted as soon as the news about stopping of ARY transmissions on PTCL was aired, he added.

He said the ARY management had been asked about the names of cable operators, who had stopped ARY’s transmission, but no proof in that regard had been provided so far.

“The ARY should provide evidence, and we will take action,” The PEMRA chairman maintained.

He said he had personally checked and found that ARY transmission was being aired on the cable at his house at the specific day. The channel broadcasts were running everywhere, he added.

The committee directed the ARY management to submit a report on areas where its broadcast was stopped. He assured that action would be taken against the cable operators if the ARY provided relevant data.

The committee was also given a detailed briefing on the structure and affairs of the Internal Publicity Wing (IP Wing) of the Ministry of Information.

The meeting was attended by Senators Irfan Siddiqui, Tahir Bizinjo and Aon Abbas Buppi. Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, and senior officers of the ministry and attached departments were also present in the meeting.