The transparency of spending during the election campaign is one of the most crucial factors which ensure transparency of elections and credibility of its results.
It especially becomes tricky when you consider spending of the incumbent government. The system has to ensure that the government in power is not using its influence to manipulate elections of using official resources in terms of money and machinery to sway votes in its favor.
There is a stringent clause in the code of conduct chalked out by the election commission of Pakistan in this regard: “Issuing of advertisements at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media and misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity by the Federal, Provincial and Local governments shall be prohibited.”
Since the advent of private media, election advertisement has become a very effective and widely used tool of promotion by the contesting parties.
I distinctly remember the last elections. Although, the caretaker governments took charge of the country for three months of elections, but, there were campaigns which I believe are equal to using public resources for electioneering. If my memory serves, almost four months before the elections, almost all the governments in the country started airing advertisements of their accomplishments and projects with pictures of their party chiefs and such. I am sure these advertisements were part of the election campaign indirectly if not directly. And of course were aired by resources from the public exchequer.
If my tax money is being used for a project, I do not see any right of any political party labelling as its own. That is my money being used for my progress.
I think a law needs to be promulgated which bars any government to “label” any project with pictures of even messages of their chieftains. After all, government is a public service enterprise.