ISLAMABAD - A serious of irregularities and embezzlement of millions of rupees have been committed during the Zakat Collection Campaign launched by the Ministry of Zakat and Ushr, TheNation learnt reliably on Wednesday. The sources informed that the Ministry had spent Rs 75 million on its 35-day advertising campaign for Zakat collection, nearly half of the total collections - Rs 197 million - this year. The sources disclosed that total budget of the Ministry allocated for advertisement purposes was Rs 60 million but it had spent Rs 75 million. Apathetic attitude on the part of authorities concerned has taken the Ministry on the verge of collapse, they informed. The sources informed that without devising any appropriate strategy, the Ministry launched an expensive Zakat collection campaign. The pick and choose procedure in the selection of advertisement companies caused millions of embezzlement, sources informed. The practice of nepotism has raised its ugly head in almost all the affairs of the Ministry, they added. The officials of the Ministry did prefer expensive campaign to free campaign through public service messages of PEMRA on electronic media and nearly Rs 50 millions were spent in this regard, sources informed. Without devising any appropriate strategy for the disbursement of Zakat, the Ministry allocated funds for the educational institutions and hospitals, sources further informed. When contacted, Deputy Secretary Rafiq Qureshi, In-charge of advertising campaign for Zakat collection, refused to comment, saying that he was not the spokesman of the Ministry. Joint Secretary Aftab Mehmood, Spokesman of the Ministry of Zakat & Usher, when contacted by this scribe, told that due to SC verdict regarding 'Faith and Fiqa the Ministry could not achieve desired Zakat collection target this year. When inquired regarding the pick and choose procedure in the selection of advertisement companies, he replied that it was a top secret, adding he had no authority either to confirm or deny the charges. To a query, he said the Ministry was using free public service message facility of PEMRA from the next year. Responding to another question, he replied that agenda of upcoming meeting of Zakat Council Committee was also a secret. He said that many times officials of the Ministry informed the Government regarding the hurdles in the way of Zakat collection but no one was there to pay any heed to a genuine demand of the Ministry.