Joy Rides On Public Expense

Pakistan_in_1948.jpgOver 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.

7 Comments so far

  1. Talha (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

    I agree.

  2. SELF (unregistered) on October 31st, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

    BP, some people just love Public Transport – the transport provided to them by public money.

  3. Majad (unregistered) on November 1st, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

    Those details are truely shocking if indeed these expenses are increased.
    I want to point out that all of this lavish lifestyle at the expense of the public funds breeds a mentality in these people that somehow that is their God-given right and that everyone else is a nobody who should just live to serve thier every need.

    When those in power openly break the laws and behave like mini-Pharoahs can anyone blame our youth for turning to violence to solve these inequalities ? If these people carry on like this then whats happening in Swat could happen right here in RWP/ISB…

  4. SA (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 11:33 am

    A very interesting article Backpacker!I am an Indian and a frequent visitor to this ‘friendly neighborhood’ site. It is a shame that although many of us are aware of the demi God status these politicians enjoy in developing countries, very few of us care to express our opinions.

    Co-incidentally, I too recieved some such alarming statistics of our Indian sub continent as follows:

    Salary & Govt. Concessions for a Member of Parliament (MP)in India :

    Monthly Salary : Rs.12,000

    Expense to Constitution per month : Rs.10,000

    Office expenditure per month : Rs.14,000

    Traveling concession (Rs. 8 per km) : Rs.48,000 ( eg.For a visit from South India to Delhi & return: 6000 km)

    Daily DA TA during parliament meets :Rs.500/day

    Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train: Free (For any number of times)
    (All over India )

    Charge for Business Class in flights : Free for 40 trips / year (With wife or P.A.)

    Rent for MP hostel at Delhi : Free

    Electricity costs at home : Free up to 50,000 units

    Local phone call charge : Free up to 1,70,000 calls.

    TOTAL expense for a MP [ having no ACADEMIC qualification ! ] per year :Rs.32,00,000 [i.e . 2.66 lakh/month]

    TOTAL expense for a 5 year tenure
    : Rs.1,60,00,000

    For 534 MPs, the expense for 5 years :
    Rs.8,54,40,00,000 (nearly 855 crores)

    This is excluding incomes via corrupt practices!

    This is how all our tax money is being swallowed and affects price hike on our regular commodities.
    To add to this, our Prime inister is asking the highly qualified out performing CEOs to cut down their salaries and create wealth for the country !
    Rs. 855 crores could have made the lives of thousands of citizens living under the poverty line, livable.
    Come to think of it..what a great democracy we have and inspite of all this we are a BOOMING ECONOMY !

  5. backpacker (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

    I hear you SA. And thanks for dropping by here. We are always really glad to have visitors from our eastern neighbours.

    The question is : What can be done, or what should be done about it? How can a positive change be brought into the society so that they are more aware of their rights and duties.

  6. thanos (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

    You must decrease the span and scope of government, and create a rigid code of ethics for public servants. Bureacracies are the scourge of civilization even here in the US, but necessary. Any agency, commission, or committee will eventually go from the point where its purpose is to provide a specific service or mission to where its purpose becomes to protect and expand the agency instead. Bureaucrats must be kept in check, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water — it’s a real dilemma.

  7. SA (unregistered) on November 6th, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

    You heard me absolutely right BP ! Well there is not much we can do about it except make these pests of the country answerable for every penny they pocket…by questioning every wrong move they make as our representatives in the government ! Wish more people voice their opinions like you …Cheers ! :-)

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