An official informed the Supreme Court on Monday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spent Rs1.63 billion on media campaigns in its five-year tenure ending this year.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu notice against hefty ad expenditure by provincial governments.
The chief justice inquired during the hearing how many ads were commissioned to print and electronic media outlets by the KP government and how many of them carried the photo of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
KP Information Secretary Qaisar Alam informed the bench that the provincial government spent Rs1.63bn on advertisements during the last five years, while Rs204.7 million were doled out for the purpose during the last three months.
The chief justice directed the secretary to submit details of KP government's ad expenditure of the last year, and bring with him copies of ads which carried photos of Khan and Khattak.
Justice Nisar once again stressed that the funds spent on ad campaigns belonged to the treasury.
"We have nothing against the advertisements, but they should not be for personal publicity," he remarked.
The money spent on ads belonged to the people of Pakistan, the CJP said, adding that the court wished to end wastage of public funds.
"We will see from whom money [spent] for personal promotion should be recovered," he said, directing the counsels for All Pakistan Newspapers Society and Pakistan Broadcasters Association to submit their recommendations.
The CJP emphasised that the court was not ending the flow of advertisements to newspapers, but only halting "a category of advertisements".