Three former PMs using government bulletproof cars

The Senate was informed on Wednesday that three former prime ministers and an ex-chief justice were among those using state-owned bulletproof vehicles.— Reuters/file

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Wednesday that three former prime ministers and an ex-chief justice were among those using state-owned bulletproof vehicles.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister of State Sheikh Aftab Ahmed informed the House, during the question hour session, that there are 20 bulletproof vehicles of various categories in the Cabinet Division’s Central Pool of Cars (CPC) which includes a total of 70 vehicles. There are two stretch limousines in the CPC for visiting heads of states and three off-road vehicles.

The House was informed that during the financial year 2012-2013 Rs22.5 million were spent on fuel and during 2013-2014 Rs18.5 million were spent on maintaining the 70 vehicles that are part of the CPC.

The only former chief justice of Pakistan using a government bullet proof car is retired Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who was given a Mercedes Benz S-600, post retirement, following an order by the Islamabad High Court. His possession of this car sparked a parliamentary debate and lawmakers urged the government to take back this car which he is no longer entitled to use.

Senate told that no such facility is being extended to the air, naval chiefs

Former prime ministers PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf are among those currently using government bulletproof cars. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is using a Mercedes Benz S-500L while Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf are both using Mercedes Benz G-500 cars.

The Senate was informed that Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mehmood are using Mercedes Benz S 500-L cars.

Many were surprised to find out, that while even the federal ombudsman and chief ministers have been given bulletproof cars, the air chief and chief of naval staff have not.

It was revealed that along with Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Pervez Khatak, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaiser, JUI Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is also using a government bulletproof car.

The Senate was told that Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani is using a Mercedes Benz S-600 car, while Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is using a Mercedes S-500.

The discussion turned to the electronic crimes bill and Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister of State Anusha Rehman said the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 was with the concerned National Assembly Standing Committee for final consideration.

In response to a query, she said the government had established a national response centre under the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which would have the expertise to investigate crimes committed using computers, internet, mobile phones, VoIP and other electronic mediums.

The minister admitted that cyber crime is on the rise and cited the lack of legislation and public awareness as the reasons for rising cyber crime. Ms Rehman said Youtube is blocked on the orders of the Supreme Court because the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) does not have any mechanism to only block objectionable material on the site.

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