KARACHI: As many as 149 luxury cars of more than 1,300cc procured by the services and general administration department, which were shifted to the government pool on the orders of the Supreme Court (SC), are still being used by officials in the Chief Minister House, the police department and other public offices, in violation of the law.
The Toyota Land Cruisers, Pajeros and Toyota Fortuners were meant for use by high-profile officials of the provincial government. Around 90% of the luxury cars, purchased during the Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) tenure, were allotted to government officials on the orders of former CMs Qaim Ali Shah and Murad Ali Shah.
"According to the law, high-ranking government officers are only entitled to cars of up to 1,300cc. The cars in the government pool are all over 1,300cc," Services and General Administration Secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shah told The Express Tribune. The allotment of heavy-duty luxury cars by the former government was, therefore, in violation of the provincial rules and regulations.
Zulfiqar said the provincial government had shifted all the luxury cars to the designated pools as per the SC orders - an assertion that turned out to be untrue when verified. He added that a comprehensive policy on the use of these cars was submitted to the apex court. "The SC did not accept our report," he said.
"As per the new advice, all public institutions are required to draft a uniform policy in this regard." He added that the services and administrative division would ensure compliance of the directions given by the apex court.
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On June 20, the SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had annulled the notification issued by the provincial government regarding the use of the luxury vehicles. During the proceedings, the advocate-general (AG)had informed the apex court that the 149 luxury cars had been taken into custody. The CJP asked where those cars were being kept and how they would be used in the future, to which the AG replied that a central pool had been formed for such cars and rules for their use had also been formulated.
The new notification pertaining to the use of luxury cars was submitted to the SC, according to which, the vehicles could be used for special purposes and field work, for which a daily rent of Rs25,000 would have to be paid.
Justice Nisar remarked that it meant that the Sindh government had started to rent out the cars. He added that the notification had been issued with ill intention and it would allow ministers to use the cars for the entire day. The ministers are not satisfied with any car less than a Pajero, Justice Nisar had remarked. The hearing was adjourned till June 28.
Who has what?
According to statistics by the services and general administration department, 59 of the luxury vehicles have been allotted to the police department, 18 to CM House officials and seven cars are being used by Governor House.
Of the 59 cars allotted to the police department, 40 are Toyota Fortuner jeeps and 19 either Land Cruisers or Prados, the statistics report by the services department confirmed.
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According to the report, six of the luxury cars given to CM House were reserved for VVIP duty, of which one is a bulletproof BMW jeep.
Another six were reserved for commute of VIP guests, one of which was a bulletproof Toyota Fortuner. Another five cars additionally reserved for CM House include four Prados and one Fortuner.
Meanwhile, the luxury cars being used by Governor House include five Land Cruisers for VIP protocol and one other car as reserve.
Former PPP ministers had also been using six luxury cars, while one Land Cruiser had been given to caretaker CM Fazlur Rehman and one Toyota Fortuner to former interior secretary Jamal Mustafa Syed.
Of the remaining, 33 vehicles are held by the Special Security Unit for VVIP protection. Police officers allotted Land Cruisers and Prados include former Sindh Inspector-General of Police Allah Dino Khowaja, Additional IGs Sanaullah Abbasi and Mushtaq Maher and DIGs Ghulam Sarwar Jamali, Saqib Ismail Memon, Allah Baksh aka Javed Akhtar Odho, Zulfiqar Larek, Azad Khan, Muzzafar Ali Shaikh and Javed Riaz.
In addition to this, police officers given Toyota Fortuners include AIGs Aftab Pathan, Sardar Abdul Majeed Dasti, Dr Ameer Ahmed Shaikh, Waliullah Dil and Ghulam Qadir Thebo as well as DIGs Ameen Yousufzai, Ahmed Yar Chauhan and Imran Yaqoob Minhas.
According to the report, Prisons IG Nusrat Hussain Mangan has been given a Toyota Fortuner while the Hyderabad DIG has a Daihatsu Terios jeep. The luxury cars awarded to Pathan, Dasti and Dr Ameer were purchased in February, the statistic report states, while other cars were procured in earlier years.
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Besides, former PPP ministers of PPP were also allotted several, which have now been returned to the pool, claims the report. These include a bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser allotted to former home minister Sohail Anwar Siyal. Other luxury vehicles were given to former education minister Jam Mehtab Dahar, former law minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, former food minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and former planning and development minister and public accounts committee chairman Salim Raza Jalbani. Former excise and taxation minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla was also in possession of a Nissan SUV. The car was given to him at a time when he was serving as the information technology minister. Former advisor to the CM for social welfare, Shamim Mumtaz, also held a government-sponsored luxury car.
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In addition to this, commissioners and deputy commissioners serving in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur and Larkana divisions were also listed in the statistics report as holders of luxury cars. Of the 32 cars given to top officers, nine were held by the commissioner and DC offices of Hyderabad, eight by Larkana, seven by Mirpurkhas, six by Sukkur and one each by Karachi and Benazirabad.
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