KARACHI - The APNS has rejected the rejoinder of Punjab Information and Culture Department as a pack of distorted facts relating to the DGPR/Midas payment issue.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the APNS has stated that the Information Department has conveniently ignored and distorted the facts of the case and issued a press release to mislead and prejudice the public opinion.

The APNS in order to straighten the record has stated that the Joint Committee of the APNS and the Punjab Government held only one inaugural meeting wherein the TORs and issues to be handled by the Joint Committee were deliberated and framed. The Committee had decided that the Auditor General Pakistan will be requested for the audit of the accounts of DGPR and prepare a report to be submitted within 45 days to the committee. The APNS asserted that no report of the Auditor General was ever placed before the Joint Committee as it was never convened again.

The audit report referred by the Punjab Information Department was not issued by the Auditor General but was proposed draft paras of audit by the Director General Audit, Punjab. The objections raised and the deficiencies mentioned in the proposed draft paras were duly answered by the DGPR which has not been mentioned in the statement of the Information Department. The APNS vide its letter dated Nov 12, 2011, stated that the audit paras relate to the DGPR and Information Department do not pertain to M/s Midas (Pvt) Ltd. The APNS reminded that vide letter dated March 19, 2011, it had requested Punjab Information Secretary that the audit report should be placed before the Committee which was never convened. The APNS also requested to forward the complete audit report for the perusal of the APNS and suggested an independent audit by KPMG or AF Ferguson & Co. The request was not even acknowledged.

The APNS had also requested the Chief Minister on July 24, 2012, to advise the Convener, Joint Committee to hold a meeting instead of lodging an FIR against the agency as it would be perceived as political victimisation. It is regretted that the APNS request was ignored. The APNS reiterated that the Punjab CM should immediately intervene in the interest of cordial relations between the media and the Punjab Government as bypassing the consultative procedure and resorting to police action would badly reflect upon the Press–Punjab Govt relations and damage the economies of the print media across the country.