Election season seems to have turned into recovery season, as government departments turned to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to help get their defaulted payments or hardware back.
Case in point is a Photostat machine that was issued to former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf during his stint as Minister of Water and Power and installed at his camp office.
He was subsequently removed and replaced but the machine was never returned. Now, a section officer of the ministry has approached the ECP to finally try and get the photocopier back.
Earlier, the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) told the ECP that Ashraf was at the top of the list of defaulters as he owes Rs454,440 from when he was minister of information technology and also owes Rs173,324 against a telephone line at his flat in the Minister’s Enclave.
The Water and Power Ministry also told the ECP that former minister Syed Naveed Qamar had to return a computer, a printer and a fax machine.
Ministers aside, an ex-special assistant to the prime minister has to return a Staff Car (Toyota Corolla), laptop, photostat machine, Computer set with speakers, a 17-inch monitor, printer, UPS, fax machine and a Television set.
The ECP had earlier announced that anyone who is guilty of outstanding utility bills will not be eligible to participate in the upcoming polls. Various authorities are now making lists of defaulters to enable recovery before the elections.
The Ministry of Water and Power also sent a list of 360 lawmakers who have defaulted on electricity bills to the ECP, including former prime minister Ashraf. Other defaulters included over a dozen federal and state ministers.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2013.