Misuse of public vehicles, other privileges

Punjab AssemblyLAHORE: The opposition in Punjab Assembly (PA) on Monday exposed a list of Shahbaz Sharif government’s “blue-eyed retired bureaucrats” who were still enjoying public vehicles and other privileges.
The PA session on Monday commenced under the chairmanship of Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan. Soon after recitation from the holy Quran, the House started question hour on the Food Department, however, due to the absence of the provincial minister, Parliamentary Secretary for Food Muhammad Saeed Mughal answered the queries put forward by the legislators. After completion of the question hour, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) deputy parliamentary leader Shaukat Mehmood Basra stood up on a point of order and informed the House of some retired bureaucrats who were still enjoying official privileges “illegally”.

He said it was a common practice in the media and other sectors of society, especially bureaucracy, of levelling allegations of corruption against politicians without looking at their own “corruption and double standards”. Basra further said that not only bureaucracy but retired and sitting judges were also involved in wrongdoings, which could not be tolerated in any case. Highlighting the absence of “true” politicians in society, Basra said no one dared to speak the truth, adding that if someone spoke about the wrongdoings of the judges, army generals and mullahs then he/she was either charged with contempt of court or blasphemy. Nobody realised that such elements were doing more wrong to society than the alleged “corrupt” political figures, he said.

In support of his arguments, he tabled a list of 10 bureaucrats, including six retired high-profile police officers of inspector general (IG) ranks, who were still enjoying privileges from the provincial government. He also informed the House that he had a list of 10 government vehicles with their registration numbers that were being used by the retired officers illegally. He said that three former officers of IG rank, including Jahanzeb Burki, Tariq Masood Khosa and Rana Maqbool Ahmad were also included in the list. Three former additional inspector generals – Pervaiz Ahmad Rathor, Waseem Ahmad and Arshad Saeed – were also included in the list of privileged retired officers of the provincial government. Basra also presented details, including registration numbers, of all the vehicles being used by these retired officers. He requested the speaker to form a committee comprising the most loyal and honest police officers, like Major Mubashar and Kalb-e-Abbas, and some parliamentarians to probe the facts and to take back such vehicles from “illegal users”.

In the absence of ministers of the provincial government, a parliamentary secretary, Tahir Khalil Sindhu, stood up and replied on their behalf. He asked Basra to provide the list to the government, which would then hold an inquiry into the matter and later reveal the results and facts to the assembly. The speaker also endorsed the suggestion of the treasury. Subsequently, Basra provided the list to the parliamentary secretary who will inform the House about official inquiry into the matter within the next two days.Later, due to a lack of quorum pointed out by opposition member Samina Khawar Hayyat of the PML-Q, the session was adjourned until Tuesday. – Dailytimes