Joy Rides On Public Expense
Over the period of last few months I have seen a growth in the number of luxury cars with “green number plates” cruising on the streets of the capital. You can easily find super luxury sedans (some of them cost more than 1.8 Million Pak Rupees) to luxury hatchbacks driving the “maim sahibs” to shopping markets in posh E & F sectors. You will also see drivers recklessly driving “bacha logs” of these “civil servants” to their schools in the morning and afternoon school rush hours or to KFC and Mc Donald’s for an afternoon junk bite. Their driving is anywhere close to being civilized. I would say that as Pakistan has made tremendous economic growth in the past few years, what better investment could be then to invest in super luxury Japanese cars for taking care of our dear bureaucracy who live in palatial homes in uptown sectors of Islamabad and whose families have 5-6 servants for every menial job one can imagine at home. After all, Pakistan has now become a developed country.
The beauty of all this is that all of this is coming out of tax payer’s pocket, kickbacks in “delayed” contracts or the debt money. All of it, running on expensive petrol, while the rest of nation yearns for a few pounds of CNG, in long queues outside the gas stations. While 80% children of this nation don’t have access to basic schooling, you see “mummy papa daughters and sons” of these civil servants in TCS offices tightly holding on to prospectuses of one or more of foreign universities in Australia and the US of A. When they return to their cars, the driver steps out to open the door for them, least their pretty manicured hands do not get soiled with the dirt of the Capital.
When Malaysia made its first car, the head of state announced that he will be using that car for himself, and all of the civil service machinary would use the same car. Do our rulers have the guts, and the patriotism to go for such a decision? Well our PM secretariat is busy in getting even more perks, have a look:
According to the copy of the bill available with ‘The News’, a total of 23 new perks and privileges have been proposed. These include:
1- Exemption from the provision of the Pakistan Arms Ordinance 1965 (WP Ordinance No XX of 1965) or any other law at the time being in force relating to the possession of arms, firms arms or ammunition.
2- Diplomatic passports for self, wife and dependent children.
3- Access to government guest houses, rest houses and circuit houses in the country free of charge.
4- Installation of telephone at residence at government expenses and exemption from payment of its rental charges and of charges of calls made there from to the extent of Rs60,000 during a financial year in the aggregate.
5- Services of one private secretary in BPS 18, one security guard, one driver and one cook for life from the date on which right to receive pension under this accrues.
6- Free medical aid for life in Pakistan and abroad subject to approval by the medical board for self, wife and dependent children.
7- Free official residence for life or rent at the rate of Rs50,000 per month if official residence if not provided or occupied to be maintained at government expenses.
8- Free provision of electricity to the extent of monthly consumption of 2000 units, gas to the extent of monthly consumption of 10HM3(consumption of the electricity and gas to be adjusted at the close of each financial year) and water.
9- An amount of Rs100,000 for movement of household effects and collection of papers and books.
10- Purchase of one car exempted from levy of customs duty and sales tax if not already availed as the prime minister.
11- Car allowance at the rate of Rs20,000 per month or such higher amount as the federal government may, keeping in view the price of motor fuel, cost of car and its maintenance determine from time to time.
12- No income tax shall be payable in respect of the facilities, benefits and perquisite admissible under this schedule.
13- Security escort as and when required
14- Arrangements for special security measures for the former prime minister and his family either on his request or by the federal government on its own accord taking into account the circumstances past and present.
15- Pension for rest of life at the rate of 80 per cent of the current salary
I think things were different when Pakistan came into being, as the founder of the nation refused to serve tea to the civil bureaucracy in a meeting, for the reason that they should have their teas and coffees at home as the state machinery could not afford such an expense. For those who can read Urdu, they can see for themselves in the attached image. So where are we headed in the next 60 years? Is all this expense by the civil servants here in Islamabad justified? Have your say.