KARACHI: The Sindh government, complying with the Supreme Court’s orders, has retrieved 149 luxury vehicles from former cabinet members and government officers and parked them at the government transport pool to be utilised as per uniform policy framed by the federal government.
This was stated at the farewell caretaker cabinet meeting held under the chairpersonship of Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Fazalur Rehman on Monday at the CM House.
The meeting was attended by all the cabinet members, Chief Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman, Inspector-General Amjad Javed Saleemi, Planning and Development Chairperson Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to the CM Sohail Rajput, provincial secretaries and others concerned officers.
The agenda of the meeting was to discuss suo motu case No 11/2018 of the apex court regarding the utilisation of luxury vehicles by ministers and government officers beyond their entitlement.
The cabinet was informed that in pursuance of the apex court order, the federal government in consultation with the provincial governments has evolved standard operational procedures (SOPs) for utilisation and disposal of luxury vehicles retrieved from ministers and senior officers.
According to the SOPs, luxury vehicles that are more than 10 years old and require major repair or maintenance may be sold through an open auction after completing legal formalities.
Further, the SOPs require non-customs paid or tampered luxury vehicles, irrespective of model, make and type, to be handed over to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for allocation to ministries or divisions or institutions as per FBR’s existing rules and if required disposal of the leftover vehicles is to be arranged through an open auction as per FBR policy.
“The luxury vehicles retrieved by the federal government are to be included in the central pool of the cabinet for protocol duties of state guests or visiting foreign delegates, senate chairperson, speakers of the National Assembly, chief justices of high courts and Supreme Court, the governor and chief ministers during their visit to Islamabad,” the SOP said, adding that the vehicles confiscated by the provincial governments may be allocated with the approval of the provincial cabinet or disposed off through an auction.
The SOPs stated that the luxury vehicles retrieved by the federal or provincial government are utilised by the federal or respective provincial government with approval of the federal or provincial cabinet for protocol duties of the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of Pakistan and the high courts, Senate chairman, governors, chief ministers, speakers of national and provincial assemblies and foreign dignitaries.
Major (retd) Suleman proposed that all the retrieved luxury vehicles may be placed at the disposal of the respective protocol wing of the CM’s Secretariat or the Governor’s Secretariat for protocol duties of dignitaries.
It was also proposed that all retrieved luxury vehicles of district administration may be placed at the disposal of the commissioners and deputy commissioners for protocol duties and for use on geographical or terrain considerations.
It was proposed to the cabinet that the bullet-proof vehicles may be provided to public office holders only after making a proper assessment based on potential threat and security requirement through Armoured Vehicles’ Entitlement Committee.
The cabinet approved all the proposals and requested the chief secretary to submit them to the Supreme Court on August 6.
Elections conducted peacefully
Meanwhile, while presiding over another meeting, the CM appreciated the efforts of all the concerned institutions in conducting smooth security arrangements.
The meeting was attended by all the cabinet members, the chief secretary, Rangers director-general, IG, principal secretary to the CM, Karachi additional IG, all concerned provincial secretaries, all divisional commissioners and DIGs and provincial heads of intelligence agencies.
The CM said that conducting the general elections was a big task. He thanked all the cabinet members and concerned officers for achieving the task. “I am proud to say that the election was conducted in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Major (retd) Suleman said that the transportation of over 70,000 polling staff and meeting their requirements such as furniture, technical support and other facilities was a big challenge. “Had we not worked as a team it would not have been possible,” he said and lauded the leadership of the caretaker CM.
“We did it within a month which is a record,” he said.
Rangers DG Major General Mohammad Saeed said that he was in close coordination with the chief secretary, IG and intelligence agencies to make arrangements. “Thanks to God everything went well and its credit goes to every one sitting here and their teams,” he said and lauded the support of his team.
Saleemi also talked about the coordinated efforts of everyone and lauded the support of the intelligence agencies. “I am thankful to my force and the intelligence agencies who kept us well informed about the potential threats well in time,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2018.