The opposition in the Punjab session on Monday lashed out at the government for not withdrawing official vehicles from retired bureaucrats and judges.
MPA Shaukat Basra, rising on a point of order, said that the government had provided official vehicles to its favourites among former bureaucrats and judges. Basra said that politicians were often branded as corrupt but no one in the government seemed to care about holding the bureaucrats serving and retired accountable.
Basra read some statistics of government vehicles in the use of former civil servants. However, he did not disclose the source of the information. Basra then launched an attack against the treasure to which the speaker and the treasury members had no answer.
“These bureaucrats are the most corrupt segment of the society. Yet the PML-N [government] is providing them with undeserved perks and protecting them,” he said.
This was followed by a list of some 10 names, who he said, were still using official vehicles provided by the PML-N government, despite retirement.
Basra demanded that the government register corruption and embezzlement cases against all the officials using official vehicles and occupying official residences.
He asked the speaker to form a house committee to look into the matter. The speaker, however, said that the MPA must first provide a written complaint in this regard.
The speaker said he would consider taking any action only after the treasury had replied to his allegations. “Unless I hear the other party, I cannot condemn anyone,” he said. Earlier, during the question hour session, Parliamentary Secretary (Food) Saeed Mughal answered questions about the shortage of wheat and sugar in the province. He said there was no shortage and no major complaints from the farmers on the issue of payments from the sugar mills.
He said the 45 sugar mills in the Punjab had produced 1.8 million metric tons of sugar this year of which 1.1 million tons was still lying in their warehouses.
He also denied that there was any problem of over-charging in the province. Answering a question about the retail price of sugar, he said it was between Rs66 and Rs68. The statement by the parliamentary secretary created an uproar from the opposition benches, as many members contested his claims and demanded a detailed reply from the department in the next session.
With not more than 55 members present, the session was adjourned in less than two hours. PML-Q’s Samina Khawar Hayat pointed out the quorum.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.
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