During the fiscal year 2008-09, the Punjab government gave Rs 33.792 million to 24 journalists, who are working with various newspapers as reporters, newsroom men and columnists.
This has been done from the supplementary budget of the public exchequer. The names of the journalists have been published in the ‘supplementary budget statement 2008-09’.
Interestingly, a person also qualified to be a beneficiary owing to the reason that he is a brother of a female journalist.
This depicts that how even the most ‘pious’ of the governments indulge in such tactics, which are far helping in getting the ‘better’ of journalists.
What qualifies them to become 'beneficiaries' of the 'grant', cannot be discovered. However, one thing is clear: The influential can get more 'aid', while persistent pursuer of the application can get not lakhs, but thousands certainly.
The leading among all is MAK Lodhi, Editor Investigation, The News Lahore, who was given Rs 20 million, while being followed by Naeem Ullah Khan, News Editor, Daily Express, Islamabad, who got Rs 7 million.
The third highest is the Resident Editor of The News Ayesha Haroon, who has been given Rs 3.962 million for medical treatment. She seems to be the most deserving of all, as she has been very ill for the last over two years. She is said to have already spent a lot from her own pocket. Plus her journalistic credentials are far far above than the rest.
The rest of journalists, 21 in total, reached an accumulative figure of Rs 2.83 million. A. Hameed, Columnist ‘Express’ Lahore, Rs 500,000; Rana Shehzad Iqbal, Senior Sub-Editor Daily Aaj Kal, Lahore Rs 3,80,000 and Saadat Khayali, senior columnist, Lahore, got Rs 3,00,000. Muzaffar Muhammad Ali, Editor Jang Publisher, Lahore, Khawaja Abdul Hakeem Amir, senior journalist, Lahore, Hamid Javed, Reporter Jang, Lahore, and Inayat Arif, senior journalist, Lahore got Rs 200,000 each.
Khadim Hussain, Jang, Lahore, Asghar Ali Joyia, Columnist Daily Nawa-i-Waqt, Lahore, Prof Afzal Tauseef, senior journalist/columnist, and Shaukat Hussain Shaukat, Chief Editor, Daily Afaq were given Rs 100,000 each.
Those who got Rs 50,000 each are: Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Kazmi, Editorial Incharge, Daily Aaj Kal, Lahore, Altaf Ahmed, Computer Operator, Daily Jang, Lahore, Dastoor Group (Punjab Union of Journalists), Saleem Jadoon, Daily The Nation, Lahore, Muhammad Saeed Azhar, senior journalist, Lahore, Saeed Ahmed Shahid, Sub-Editor Jang, Ali Murtaza, brother of senior journalist Attiya Zaidi and Zawar Hussain, senior journalist for medical treatment.
The lowest aid of Rs 25,000 each was given to Gulzar Mustafai, Journalist Daily ‘Taaqat’ and Shoaib Jamil, News Editor, Jurat Lahore.