LAHORE: Hearing a suo motu notice regarding use of luxurious vehicles by ministers and officers beyond their entitlement, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday took notice of a bulletproof vehicle purchased by the provincial government for the Lahore High Court chief justice.
When asked by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, Chief Secretary retired Capt Zahid Saeed admitted that the government purchased a vehicle (Mercedes) worth Rs24 million for the LHC chief justice and process for its bulletproofing was underway.
“Does chief justice of a high court have the entitlement to have such vehicle?” asked the chief justice and observed, “How can I take action against others if I do not clean my own institution?”
Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman Khan told the court the LHC chief justice had never asked for the vehicle, but the 1800cc car in his use could not be converted into a bulletproof one. Therefore, he said, the government purchased a new car on its own.
When asked by the court, AGP Khan said a bulletproof Mercedes jeep given to the LHC chief justice in 2006 was not in a good condition. The bench directed the law officer to submit a report to this effect by next hearing.
Earlier, Additional Attorney General Nayyar Rizvi told the court that he received record about the utilisation of 571 luxurious vehicles by officers working under the federal government. He said similar reports from the provinces were yet to be received.
However, the chief secretary told the court that 227 such vehicles had been used by the officers in Punjab beyond their entitlement but all these vehicles were very old. He said these vehicles would become scrap if withdrawn.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the other member of the bench, observed that all the government servants were the trustees and they could not enjoy luxury at the state’s expense. The government should devise a policy on the issue in order to bring transparency in its affairs, he added.
“Why don’t you auction the old vehicles like superior courts do,” Justice Bandial asked the chief secretary.
The chief justice adjourned the matter for a hearing to be taken up at Islamabad seat and directed the chief secretary to furnish a report regarding expenses incurred on the maintenance of the luxury vehicles during the last three months. – Resource Credit.