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Punjab provides information after eight months, KP within 14 days

Right to Information Act

By Waseem Abbasi
April 16, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Inviting Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for your wedding ceremony will entitle you to a gift suit worth Rs13,000 while meeting him in the office may earn you a crested bowl worth over Rs2,000.
According to certified information provided by the Chief Minister office, Shahbaz Sharif had spent Rs618,000 from the national exchequer to gift 48 suits to influential personalities including seven journalists while attending weddings ceremonies on their invitations.
The official data obtained by The News, shows that Chief Minister house had spent gifts Rs3.1 million on bakery items and gifts during last one year.
The documents obtained by this correspondent under Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013, show that an amount of Rs 618,000 was spent on gift dresses during wedding ceremonies from August 2013 to August 2014.
According to data, most of the wedding gifts were given to influential Pakistani nationals including journalists, politicians and bureaucrats. On the other hand, most of the crested bowls were given to foreign dignitaries visiting the CM house but some Pakistanis were also among recipients.
The documents revealed that May 2014 remained the most expensive months in terms of bakery item usage as an amount of Rs315,364 was spent on pastries and biscuits from the national exchequer. The average monthly bakery expenditure remained around Rs187,000.
Meanwhile, according to documents provided by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, the Chief Minister KP Pervaiz Khattak had spent Rs2.6 million on entertainment and bakery items during the same period.
The total amount spent on bakery items remained Rs565,240 while the entertainment cost the national exchequer an amount of Rs1,991,728.
This correspondent had forwarded information requests to Chief Ministers of KP and Punjab about the break-up of expenses on 18th September 2014 but the Punjab government took eight months to respond to the request while KP CM provided the information within the stipulated period of 14 days.
Under the Punjab RTI Act 2013, the officials have to respond to an information request within 14 working days. The Punjab government was directed by the provincial Information Commission to immediately provide the information after its failure to do so in the prescribed time period.