PDM spent Rs 10 billion in 16 months to please media when country was struggling for economic survival

DND Thought CenterPDM spent Rs 10 billion in 16 months to please media when...

By Mati Ullah Khan

It was March 08, 2022 when the Country had foreign reserves of over US$ 22,500 and it was cruising to post a GDP growth of 6.1 percent by the end of the Fiscal Year but a move by the PDM, an alliance of 13 political parties, pushed everything in the opposite direction and eventually just a few months later, the Country was at the verge of default.

Rs 10 billion in just 16 months: PDM’s investment in media and the Country’s plight

Even though the official statistics also suggest that the PDM’s move had in fact nothing to do with the Country’s economy as it was running smoothly posting the GDP growth of above 5.5 percent in two consecutive years (5.74% in FY21 & 6.1% in FY22).

In addition, the exports and remittances were on an upward trajectory. In the last Financial Year of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government 2021-22, the GDP growth had stood at 6.1 percent, the tax collection was at a record level of Rs 6,148.5 billion, exports were at US$ 32.5 billion, and remittances stood at US$ 31.2 billion while 5.5 million new employments had been generated in merely three years.

With the advent of the PDM government, almost all growing figures began to nose dive but they insisted to portray that they had rendered huge sacrifices to the Country and their untiring and sincere efforts had now assured that the Country remained out of the default loop.

Being in the power, the PDM leaders were on one hand introducing self-interest-oriented legislations to close down their corruption cases and victimizing their opponents, especially the PTI leadership; and simultaneously they were imposing multiple economic measures i.e., new heavy taxes, along with ending the subsidies, dropping further bombs on already inflation-stricken people.

Resultantly, by the end of FY 2022-23, the annual CPI inflation had mounted from 12.1 percent to 29.18 percent, which was marginally lower than all-time high inflation ever recorded in the Country.

Pakistan’s economy in PDM era (FY 2022-23):

If the Country was striving hard to avert the default and the inflation-battered people were committing suicide attempts, the media industry had ‘panchon oonglian ghee mei’ (all five fingers immersed in ghee).

In a recent meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, it was told that nearly Rs 10 billion was spent on media advertisements in almost one and half year tenure of the PDM government.

The meeting was apprised that from April 2022 to August 2023, the PDM government spent in total Rs 9.60 billion on media advertisements. The government released Rs 3.50 billion in funds for print media, Rs 4.79 billion was spent on electronic media advertisements and Rs 1.23 billion on digital media advertisements.Rs 10 billion in just 16 months: PDM’s investment in media and the Country’s plight

PDM government’s spending on media:

  • Print Media: Rs 3,505,293,097
  • Electronic Media: Rs 4,796,260,102
  • Digital Media: Rs 1,234,732,845
  • Outdoor: Rs 73,775,000
  • Total: Rs 9,610,061,444

In fact, these staggering numbers were just the tip of the iceberg as not only the PDM government spent a huge amount of public money to appease the media owners, luring them to build a narrative in their favor.

Also Read: Economic Performance of PPP, PML-N & PTI since 2008

It’s worth mentioning here that the PTI government spent a total of Rs 8.8 billion on media advertisements from August 2018 to March 2022, evidence of the fact that the PDM in its just 16 months of power spent lavishly to buy influence in media. However, it failed to establish any anti-PTI narrative.

Ironically, when the PDM government was showering a huge sum of nearly Rs 10 billion to media houses for its vested interests, the media workers were on roads to protest against systemic underpayment, job insecurity, and lack of benefits among other concerns.

The way the PDM ran the Country’s affairs looked further gloomy and depressing when the recently released figures of public debt by the State Bank of Pakistan revealed that the PDM government borrowed Rs 19.4 trillion in a span of just 16 months. Whereas the PTI government had added Rs 18.1 trillion to the public debt during its 44-month rule, a threshold that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s administration exceeded in just 16 months.

Thus, awarding their supportive journalists and media houses for further garnering their loyalties and crushing the dissenting voices have been the hallmark of the PDM’s 16-month rule. Unfortunately, it was carried out at the expense of the Country and its people. One can argue that the PDM leadership might have guaranteed their return to the power after next polls by investing heavily in media but its economic cost, which, they have inflicted upon the Country and poor masses would remain irreversible and it would take years to purge the unprecedented damage.

In simple words, in its 16-month rule, the PDM spent a whooping Rs 9.6 billion on media advertisements, reflecting the sheer apathy of the previous government and exposing their hypocritical mourning over the so-called empty exchequer that had allegedly handicapped them to provide any relief to the people. The amount of money spent to please media men through state-run PTV and Radio Pakistan is not included in the amount mentioned above where some journalists had been receiving over 0.8 million per month. Moreover, payments released through digital media arrangements headed by PMLN are not included in this figure.

Related Story: Global Village Space continues abusing the Pakistan Army without any action from the Federal Ministry of Information

It may be remembered that PDM had been crying that it had no resources to mitigate the PTI narrative or to save the Pakistan Army from the wrath of PTI’s aggressive campaigns, however, facts now spoke otherwise and they showed PDM had all the tools but it lacked the desire to do so or the expertise it had.



The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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