LAHORE: For Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, on whom the US has set out a $10 million reward, those enjoying government perks are not only violating the Constitution, but also principles outlined in Islam.
On Thursday, the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder, an outfit later banned by the Pakistan government, filed a petition before the Lahore High Court challenging VIP culture for officials enjoying the top most government posts in the country.
Saeed filed through his counsel AK Dogar that all public functionaries who are "living like kings and princes in palatial government houses" are not only committing a grave violation of Sunna of the holy Prophet (PBUH) who preached humility, modesty and contentment with available resoures, but are also guilty of direct contravention of the dictates of the Constitution of Pakistan.
He lamented that governor of Punjab lives in a 68 acres palace.
He submitted that provisions of the constitution need to be implemented to convert the ‘public rulers’ into ‘public servants’.
The petition went on to identify serving commissioners who all lived in houses of 100 kanal each. Saeed said that these officers need to be accommodated in five marla houses and their army servants must go.
As reference, he pointed to the residence of the British prime minister - a small four bedroom house built in the 17th century.
Saeed contested that the way the British prime minister lives is ‘truly Islamic’ and follow the guidelines enshrined in the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).
The petition added that government officials enjoyed "air conditioned residential quarters with costly fruit jam" while people in the country scavenged for food from garbage dumps.
The cost of VIPS
Giving details of expenses of different government functionaries the petition said staff, household and allowances of the president amounted to Rs1 million per day, prime minister’s secretariat Rs1.2 million per day, the National Assembly Rs4 million per day, Senate Rs2 million per day and the cabinet secretariat Rs200 million per day.
He said Pakistan in printing Rs300 million per day of the calendar year has driven up inflation. He said over the past four years the public debt has doubled from Rs6 trillion to 12 trillion, with every man, woman and child in Pakistan owing debt to the tune of Rs61,000.
He said that the customs and usages which are a legacy of the colonial era part need to be declared void under Article 8(1)&(2) of the Constitution.
He prayed the court rule that VIP and VVIP status is ultra vires of the constitutional provisions of equality of status, social and economic justice and principle of democracy as enunciated by Islam. He added that the closing of roads for VIPs is in utter violation of fundamental rights of the people. He said the presidency, prime minister house, the governor houses, the CM houses, ministers enclave and the places of all state functionaries be declared violating the principle of social justice.
Extending his grievance beyond offices of government high ups, he further prayed that all elite schools such as the Aitchison College Lahore must open their gates to the children of the poor and under privileged, with children from all social classes sharing the same class room, studying the same syllabus.
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