LAHORE - Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Nisar Saqib on Saturday took suo motu notice of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s lavishing public funds on media campaigns for his “self-projection”.

“Why are there pictures of Punjab CM [on ads of public projects as well as the laptops and health cards] when it is the public money [that is being used],” the top judge asked.

Justice Saqib took the suo motu on this matter while heading a three-member bench seized with another suo motu on dumping polluted water in river Ravi at the Supreme Court Lahore registry. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members of the bench.

The CJP remarked that why the laptops purchased with the public money carry the pictures of Shehbaz Sharif.

“Why CM’s pictures are everywhere; even the date sheets are carrying his pictures,” Justice Saqib remarked when someone presented him date sheet of 8th class.

Laughter followed the remarks of the judge, in the courtroom.

Justice Bandial observed that state resources could not be used for “personal projection”. He said, “Instead of advertisement, Shehbaz Sharif should concentrate on work [that could serve as a statement of his administration’s performance].”

“The nation is buried under debt but the government officials are using public money for their own publicity,” the CJP regretted. “The court has deep concerns and apprehensions about the increasing the national debt,” he added.

The bench stressed upon the political parties not to use funds allocated for public for their own promotion. “They should do so with their own resources if they wish it,” the CJP said. “Virtuous people don’t show off their virtues,” he said.

The chief justice directed chief secretary to submit comprehensive report on the matter, explaining the reason of printing Shehbaz’s pictures on laptops and health cards, and also provide details of the expense incurred on the laptop scheme.

The top judge also observed that why he shouldn’t visit hospitals when nobody was visiting these. “Someone has to visit the people [there to learn about their problems],” he remarked.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court directed Federal Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique to submit an affidavit that he had no connection with Paragon City - one of the developers of Ashiana Housing Scheme.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar passed the order while hearing a case relating to Paragon City at the Supreme Court Lahore registry. Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members.

Following the court orders wherein he was summoned to explain his connection with the developer, Federal Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique appeared before the bench.

“I don’t have any connection with Paragon. These are my voters and supporters who are shareholders in the project,” said Saad. However, he said that he and the owner of the Paragon City were friends for last 35 years, and he had also sold some of his land to the society.

Saad said that a sponsored media campaign was being run against him on some television channels only to cause him damage. He furnished his written statement before the bench. At this, the CJP expressed satisfaction on his reply.

The CJP dropped suo moto proceedings against the minister and directed him to submit an affidavit to this effect till Monday.

On Thursday, the CJP had summoned the railways minister to explain his position whether he had any role in Paragon City and under-construction Twin Towers in Islamabad.

NAB officials last week raided the office of Paragon Society and took important record and files into their custody in connection with the ongoing probe into the alleged scam of Ashiana Housing Scheme.

It may be mentioned here that former LDA DG Ahad Khan Cheema and Shahid Shafiq Alam Faridi are in NAB custody in the Ashiana Housing Scheme scam.