Home News Analysis SC bars politicians from using State vehicles for election campaigns 

SC bars politicians from using State vehicles for election campaigns 

The court was told that Federal government has recovered the 105 protected luxury vehicles which were under the use of ministers and officials.

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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday remarked that the Apex Court will not allow the use of bulletproof vehicles for election campaigns ahead of the July 25 general elections.

CJ questioned Punjab’s chief secretary decision to allocate a bulletproof vehicle to former CM Punjab and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif. He enquired that why and under which laws the former CM was extended the favor.

Justice Saqib headed the three-member bench comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, which was hearing a suo motu case against the use of luxury vehicles by federal and provincial ministers and government officials beyond their entitlement.

He said there were 1.8 million people who pay taxes and the former CM’s should be only provided with the security as per law.

CJ came down hard on the chief secretary and asked him that what was the criteria to grant the permission of using luxury vehicles?

He said there were 1.8 million people who pay taxes and the former CM’s should be only provided with the security as per law.

He directed the officials to remove the vehicles which are kept without merit and entitlement.

Additional Attorney Gene­ral Nayyar Rizvi told the bench that 49 vehicles out of a total of 56 have been recovered from Balochistan.  CJ particularly ordered that authorities in Baluchistan to confiscate the vehicles provided to seven ministers from Balochistan, otherwise, they will have to pay a hefty fine of one hundred thousand per day. Moreover, the fine will be increased, two hundred thousand per day.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif’s London flats – luxury to liability

CJ also was surprised that the former CM Punjab was using the public park to park his vehicle. He ordered that vehicles should be parked within the premises of his house.

The court ordered the politicians including the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl Maulana Fazlur Rehman to arrange his own security. The state will not bear the expenses for the election campaigns of politicians. He initially summoned the JUI-F’s leaders to explain that why did they continue to use the luxury bulletproof vehicles despite the court orders. But, later on, during the proceedings, he was told that vehicles have returned, the court reversed the order.

Farooq H. Naek, the council of PPP chairman told the court that Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari have made their own security arrangements.

While hearing the different cases in Lahore registry on May 31, CJ had ordered “the confiscation of all government vehicles given to ministers and government officials without official entitlement.”

Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari have made their own security arrangements. 

Anyone participating in the general elections should not be using the official bulletproof cars for campaigns and those willing to use such vehicle should buy from their own pocket, observed CJ.

The court was told that Federal government has recovered the 105 protected luxury vehicles which were under the use of ministers and officials.

On April 14, the court had ordered the federal and provincial cabinet secretaries to submit a record of all ministers and officials and chief justices using luxury vehicles beyond their official entitlement.

Read more: Government ministers jump to defend ex-PM Nawaz getting protocol

Politicians have reacted strongly against the Supreme Court’s orders to withdraw security protocols citing the grave security threats facing the party heads.

On February 12, Supreme Court had directed the administration removed barriers around 26 buildings, including Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Model Town residence, Governor House, homes of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed and former governor Salman Taseer and the city police chief’s offices.

Nawaz Sharif, despite disqualification, has continued to enjoy royal protocol, wherever he goes in the country. By law, even all the officials are only allowed to use a vehicle, not above 1800cc.

Politicians have reacted strongly against the Supreme Court’s orders to withdraw security protocols citing the grave security threats facing the party heads.

Maryam Nawaz echoed concerns when Nawaz’s security was reduced in April. She reacted angrily on Twitter and said: “God forbidden if anything happens to him you [CJP] will be responsible.”

Similarly, other political personalities and influential individuals reacted angrily claiming that they face terrorist threats.

CJP’s decision to take away the luxury bulletproof vehicle is praiseworthy. Such protocols should only be provided to elected leaders and that too if there exists a credible threat to their lives. The state has the equal responsibility towards all its citizens. In private campaigns to woo voters, politicians must use their deep pockets to fund the security of their campaigns.


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