‘We were busy’, read the ad of minimalist design on the front pages of the English and vernacular press. Turn the page, it said below, after doing which, the reader would see a second advertisement listing out what all the government had been upto in its first 100 days.
Personally, I liked it. It piqued interest and was talked about. Granted, The Tube’s opinions are not exactly objective in this regard; with shrinking government advertisement budgets, ads are good news for the newspapers, specially ones like the aforementioned, which come in pairs.
Others, however, weren’t amused. It is a wastage of government expenditure, they said; something that the PTI itself had been very vocal against. The critics then went on to dig out tweets from the last year of the last dispensation, when the League government had taken out a similar ad in the papers. In these tweets and statements, members of the current incumbent party were furious at what they called frivolity.
An apple-to-apple comparison. Even the supporters of the party – who have the innate ability to marvel at the most silly of decisions – distanced themselves.
The prime minister, with his Teflon coating, of course, was absolved. And, in this particular case, rightly so, perhaps, since it wouldn’t have been his call. But there was much blame being piled on whoever’s idea it was. No friend of the party could have recommended this ad, was a chorus.
What was hilarious was that the information minister Fawad Chaudhry himself was also chiming in. I was against this ad in the first place, he said on a television show. He said he didn’t approve of it but didn’t reveal who did.
But doesn’t the information minister hold the purse strings when it comes to government ads? Isn’t that where the buck stops?
Or is this a conspiracy which goes all the way to the bottom?