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PTI questions Punjab govt’s plan to procure jet for CM

PTI questions Punjab govt’s plan to procure jet for CM

ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has sought a detailed reply from the Punjab government regarding its plans to procure a jet aircraft for Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The party regretted that on the one hand Havelian-like plane crash incidents were taking place in the country because of lack of maintenance of available aircraft and, on the other, public funds were being spent on luxuries of the rulers.

PTI leader Andleeb Abbas has sent to the Punjab government a letter raising several questions, ranging from the source of funds for purchasing the aircraft to alleged violation of procurement rules.

The letter said the information was being sought under the Punjab Transpa­rency and Right to Informa­tion Act 2013. It pointed out a tender notice had been advertised by the province’s additional secretary for welfare in July this year about “procurement of executive jet aircraft for the government of Punjab”.

The PTI leader wondered how the chief minister could order a VIP executive jet worth Rs2 billion from taxpayers’ money and claimed that there was no mention of such allocation in the document of the provincial budget for 2016-17.

“How the Punjab government can use public funds worth Rs2bn without even allocating it in supplementary budget. This is also a violation of Punjab Asse­mbly rules, chapter XVI,” the letter said.

Ms Abbas wondered whe­ther the Punjab Procure­ment Regulatory Authority Act 2009, Punjab Procure­ment Rules 2014 and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules were being followed while purchasing the aircraft.

She said the nation had recently suffered a fatal plane crash due to failure of one of the engines of a PIA aircraft. “Why this money (Rs2bn) is not being used for maintenance and improvement of PIA aircraft to avoid such tragedies?” she asked.

The letter said PIA had suffered billions of rupees of losses last year and asked: “How can we afford a VIP jet for the personal use of CM Shahbaz Sharif.”

The PTI leader said: “As a citizen of Pakistan, I feel that in view of the tragic plane crash near Havelian due to insufficient maintenance, such VIP purchases through taxpayers’ money are illegal and immoral and must be stopped.”

Ms Abbas asked the Punjab government to reply to her letter within 14 days as required under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2016

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