…So not only, Musharraf was exploiting public money but the money received purely for development purposes. Since Musharraf is "darling of the west", so am sure that nobody will question him or his Government on this outrageous expenditure and all the audits and reports will be cleared with no problems.
Well, since last evening, its all government sponsored celebrations, dancing horses, laser light shows, music and fireworks, which though have already claimed 3 lives, burning a busy market in Faisalabad and injured some 20 people in Karachi. It seems that these lives have been presented as sacrificial animals for the celebrations of Musharraf’s "ROARING" success.
The whole day of presidential election was quite shameful. Just heard of the scandal that Government installed hidden cams in the polling booths to make sure that each MP, who was already paid by Musharraf for his/her vote had stamped for Musharraf as the President. He made sure that nobody could be trapped to his/her conscience at the last minute.
In addition, each such MP was also given a mobile phone with Camera. It was absolutely essential that S/He brings the photo of their stamped ballot paper to prove that they had voted for Musharraf. Otherwise remaining installment of money could be withheld. The starting price of an MP’s vote for this election was set at about Rs. 25 million, and it was upto the person, how good he/she was in bargaining the price. Quite a few could sell themselves at much higher rate. For example, a religious leader from NWFP was able to get around 55 millions for his one vote and crossing the floor from his original party to the one of Musharraf.
Pakistan saw one of the most expensive, exorbitant Presidential Election Campaign on media. It was outrageous, eyes soaring and extremely shameful. Comprising some white lies and tall claims, it is a sorry tale to tell. Covering the issues of road networks, health, power supply, water supply and basic service delivery, the campaign remained on the media for about 20 days. A careful estimate reveals that the cost incurred is in billions. Let me give you some breakup.
For TV channels Government had made ads of about total 6 minutes duration. The per minute cost of TV advertisement is about Rs. 100,000 plus GST. These 25-30 second advertisements (6 minutes in total) were showing on 15 different TV channels after every half an hour. So per showing would cost Rs. 600,000 X 15 = 9,000,000 and this was repeated a number of times daily. Print media is a totally different ball game. A half page advertisement in Urdu/English newspapers costs approximately 1 million. These advertisements were being published in 13 different leading newspapers on daily basis. So per day cost of publishing these advertisements comes to around 13 million. The cost incurred on FM Radio stations, cable TV networks is yet unaccounted for.
The worst part of this saga is that this was public money, which was spent by a dictator for his self promotion. Later, it was revealed that they have also used the "development communications" budget lines of a development project funded by EU and some other foreign donors including USAID and large World Bank loans.
So not only, Musharraf was exploiting public money but the money received purely for development purposes. Since Musharraf is "darling of the west", so am sure that nobody will question him or Government of Pakistan on this outrageous expenditure and all the audits and reports will be cleared with no problems.
Musharraf has won the presidential election unofficially, barring a small hiccup that it still has to be cleared from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Lets see what happens on 17th October, 2007, when the court decision is due.
However, fact remains "Nothing succeeds like success"!