ISLAMABAD: At a time when millions of Pakistanis remain unprotected in the face of terror attacks, top government functionaries continue to exploit state resources worth billions of rupees for their personal security.
At the top of the list of those being protected with state money is Interior Minister Rehman Malik who is being guarded by 58 security personnel, costing the national exchequer millions of rupees every month. He has the largest security detail among 56 top parliamentarians who have been assigned the protection of a total of 252 security personnel.
Dozens of others are in line and have written to the ministry of interior for provision of security, the Senate was informed here on Friday.
The details were provided in a written reply submitted by the interior minister, who enjoys the security of 17 policemen at his office and 17 others provide protection at his residence, including four policemen who act as his personal guards.
Law and Justice Minister Dr Babar Awan has a security detail of 14 police personnel. Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi moves with 12 policemen. Privatisation Minister Waqar Ahmad Khan and federal lawmaker Aftab Sherpao have the protection of 10 police personnel.
Among those who have officially written to the interior ministry seeking personal security are Textile and Industry Minister Rana Farooq Saeed, State Minister for Foreign Office Malik Ahmad Khan, Senator Faisal Abdi and federal lawmakers Shireen Rehman and Muhammad Khan Hoti.
Earlier, Senator Hafiz Rashid Ahmad sought the names of parliamentarians who have requested the government for security. There are eight sitting and two former MNAs and 15 members of provincial assemblies who have sought security without success.
In response to Senator Talha Mahmood’s query, Malik said that the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) had collected a sum of Rs6.3 billion for establishing new registration centres and mobile vans for remote areas.
In response to Begum Najma Hameed’s query, Malik said that the number of police personnel is 10,337 and 658 personnel of them are on ministerial staff.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2010.
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