Fact-check: Rs1m spent on ads for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund
Social media users claim Rs13 billion has been spent on ads for the mega dams, when in reality Rs1 million has been spent so far
Updated Tuesday May 09 2023
Multiple social media accounts allege that Pakistan has spent more money advertising the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams, two mega-dam projects in northern Pakistan, than it has raised so far for their construction.
The claim is false.
“Pakistan raised Rs9 billion for a dam, spent Rs14 billion on advertisements for it,” a Twitter user wrote.
In a graphic that he shared, it was stated: “4 years of lies. The mega project of PTI, Diamer-Bhasha Dam Fund.” The graphic further cited a news report by the Indian publication, Firstpost.
Another Twitter user shared the same graphic and a similar claim.
While on April 18 a lawyer filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court where he claimed that “a sum of Rs13 billion” had been spent on advertisements for the dams till now.
The spokesperson of Pakistan’s central bank has rubbished the claims, adding that only Rs1 million has been spent on media advertisements, calling people to donate for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam Fund.
Abid Qamar, the chief spokesperson of the State Bank of Pakistan, told Geo Fact Check via WhatsApp, that there was “no truth” in allegations that a huge amount had been spent.
“We have spent less than Rs1 million on a few newspaper advertisements and nothing more,” he added.
Qamar, however, refused to share relevant documents or provide a timeline as to when this money was doled out. “Sorry I can’t give any more details,” he added.
While in January 2019, the then additional attorney general told the Supreme Court that Rs13 billion “free adverts” have been aired on television channels, as reported by Geo Television then.
On July 10, 2018, Pakistan’s Finance Division established a bank account titled, Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund, on orders from Saqib Nisar, the then chief justice of the Supreme Court.
The bank account was set up to collect an ambitious $12.4 billion to build two major hydroelectric dams in Pakistan. The crowdfunding drive was launched by Saqib Nisar, who took a personal interest in the projects.
The Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund is now jointly managed by the State Bank and the National Bank of Pakistan.
As per the details listed on the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s website, the fund has to date collected over Rs16.9 billion.
While a report by the State Bank of Pakistan, published on its website states that people from 52 countries have contributed to the fund.
With additional reporting by Fayyaz Hussain.
Follow us on @GeoFactCheck. If our readers detect any errors, we encourage them to contact us at [email protected]