Decision to buy new car worth Rs 100 million for PoK President draws criticism
MUZAFFARABAD [PoK], June 21 (ANI): The decision of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) government to buy a new luxurious car worth Rs 100 million for President Barrister Sultan Mahmood had sparked strong criticism from the civil society. This comes when the members of the cabinet and parliamentary secretaries of the PoK have been registering their protests over cuts in the allocated budget for the PoK, Dawn reported.
The new notification issued by the services and general administration department (S&GAD) stated that the government had approved a provision of an additional grant of Rs 102.52 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 and its advance withdrawal for purchase, including payment of local taxes and transportation charges, of a Mercedes Benz S500 4MATIC Sedan Long (RHD) car for the president.
This new development triggered people from different walks of life to severely criticise the spending by the government for the president after it went viral on social media. "While the president is not legally barred from buying an even expensive car, it does not behove him to do so at a time when his party is crying hoarse about the budget cuts that it says will affect its plans to deliver in productive, social and development sectors," tweeted Naila Altaf Kayani, a well-known Kashmiri analyst.
Another netizen, a Saudi-Arabia-based activist Saad Maqsood wrote, "In Pakistan, they don't have money to consume even poison, but from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad, there is no end to the luxuries of the ruling elite." Moreover, Pro-PTI activists called upon party chief Imran Khan to take stock of the situation, reported Dawn.
Responding to a question about buying a luxurious car, spokesperson for PoK president Syed Kamal Haider said that the summary for the purchase of the new car was initiated by the previous government and they had not yet seen it. Two weeks ago, a similar incident was witnessed when the PoK government had approved an additional grant of Rs 20.34 million for the purchase of four new 1800cc Toyota Corolla cars for as many former prime ministers of the territory.
The new cars were being purchased for Sardar Yaqoob Khan, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, and Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi. They were supposed to return the old cars in their use after getting the new ones, according to Dawn. Earlier, highlighting the plight of the people of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), human rights activist and chairman of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said that the budget cut situation is alarming and should be addressed on "war footing".
He noted that, unfortunately, political leaders do keep claiming that the literacy rate in PoK is more than in any other province of Pakistan but the truth is different. "We still have the pass-fail system," he added in the Twitter post. He said that concern has been expressed over pathetic conditions of primary schools at the union council level in PoK where students are "compelled to sit on the ground below open sky with no washrooms, clean drinking water facilities".
The UKPNP chairman said that apart from this sorry state of affairs, "there is an acute shortage of teachers as well." This comes after the government of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) accused the Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led federal government of slashing the development grant provided to PoK and warned that it could lead to a severe financial system disbalance, if not reviewed.