PESHAWAR -  Adviser to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani on Friday denied claims by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Nawaz)-led federal government and reports appearing in the national media regarding the award of a multi-billion-rupee advertisement contract, of print and electronic media campaign, to a company in which certain Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members supposedly hold interests.

He, while addressing a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, termed the news as a “malicious propaganda” attempt intended to defame the provincial government by the PML-N who wants to cover the corruption “revealed” against its leadership in the Panama Papers.

While clarifying the matter, the adviser stated that under the publicity plan, an advertisement was issued inviting advertising agencies to register themselves with the provincial government.

Eighteen advertising companies appeared in the steering committee meeting and gave their presentations, out of which 13 companies were shortlisted. The meeting was chaired by Ghani.

He refuted allegations levelled earlier by PML-N leaders Musadiq Malik and Daniyal Aziz that advertisement contract was being awarded to a company in which senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members Faisal Javed and Iftikhar Durrani hold interests.

Ghani termed their statements baseless and void of any facts. He further stated that the provincial government will file a law suit against PML-N for defamation and misleading the public through false information.

He added that the provincial government and the Directorate of Information and Public Relations have a policy in place according to which advertisements are distributed in the regional, provincial and national media.

The adviser further clarified that advertisement contract will be awarded on merit basis and that no company had been awarded any advertisement contract.

The decision will be made after consultations with the chief minister and authorities concerned.

“Therefore all allegations that contract is being provided to the advertising agency in which Faisal Javed holds interest is completely baseless. He no longer works in any advertisement company and has devoted himself to party affairs. Therefore, the question of awarding a contract to the company in which Javed works is immature and baseless,” he added.