Bureaucrats miffed at PAC’s copter use ruling | The Express Tribune


PESHAWAR:

Facing the music for using the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government helicopter without paying a single penny, bureaucrats questioned the competence of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to extract dues from them to fly there.

Members of the bureaucracy strongly opposed the directives of the top parliamentary body, arguing that the decision to hold them responsible for using the helicopter for “official visits” went beyond its competence. On the contrary, contrary to the “unsubstantiated claims” of the list and those who provided it, the officials had only members of the government on board – mainly the chief minister himself.

The criticism comes after PAC leader Noor Alam Khan returned the list of 1,800 people who were barred from using the helicopter to NAB with new instructions to reclaim their dues.

According to the list, besides PTI chief Imran Khan, more than 40 political figures have used the helicopter. PTI chief Faisal Javed took 10 free helicopter trips, and Imran’s former wife Reham Khan and Abrarul Haq took two free trips each.

PTI leaders Shehryar Afridi, Hafeezullah and Amin Aslam used the helicopter, while the list also contains names of journalists – Fariha Idris, Dr Shahid Masood and Arshad Sharif.

The PAC Chairman said that the money will be collected from NAB after recovery from helicopter users, asking NAB to verify the details of the Punjab government helicopter.

PAC also wrote a letter of thanks to NAB for submitting the list of 1,800 people.

“Unsubstantiated claims”

Talk to The Express Grandstanda senior official argued that contrary to the committee’s “unsubstantiated claims”, the trips made by the officials were of an official nature.

“We did not use this helicopter to fly home or attend weddings as we were mostly asked to join and accompany the chief minister on official visits,” he said.

According to the senior official, there is always a signed manifest as soon as passengers are dropped off in the helicopter which contains contact details for each of them. As soon as the helicopter lands, the manifest is deposited in the aircraft’s logbook.

“How can someone fly without the approval of the proper authority,” the official wondered, saying those who shared the list were “unaware of the facts.”

“Of course, how can a police chief fly in the KP government helicopter? There must be an official visit,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A list of some 48 politicians has been shared with the PAC and a sum of Rs80million is pending against them.

The list, a copy of which is available with The Express Grandstandshows several politicians, including PML-N leaders Khwaja Asif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Abid Sher, as well as Asfandyar Wali Khan and Syed Masoom Shah of the ANP.

Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao of Qawmi Watan Party (QWP) and his son Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao and Sirajul Haq, Sahibzada Tariq and Habib-ur-Rehman of Jamat-e-Islami also used the KP government helicopter and have responsibilities at against them.

Similarly, Imran Khan’s former ally Jahangir Khan Tareen and former PTI coordinator Aun Chaudhry were also mentioned in the list.

Late Inspector General KP Police Nasir Khan Durrani, Outgoing Commander Frontier Constabulary Salahuddin Mehsood, Former KP Police Additional IG Syed Akhtar Ali Shah, DIG Qazi Jamil, DIG Azad Khan, DIG Mubarak Zeb, SSP Fida Hussain, SSP Mansoor, SSP Ghulam Hussain , SSP Monim Baig, SP Afzal and SP Muhibullah, also used the helicopter.

Interestingly, besides senior police officers, inspectors, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors, chiefs of police and hawaldars also used the government helicopter. However, senior KP officials believe the trips were undertaken for official duties.

The list contains more than 100 names of government officials, including former prime minister’s principal secretary Azam Khan, CM principal secretary Shahab Ali Shah, secretaries, political operatives from former federally administered tribal areas , a large number of forest officials in addition to those responsible for higher education, information, tax, anti-corruption, agriculture, Wapda and tourism.

Foreigners including Branda Shrader, A. Rodrigues, Maria Bejar, Chris Farmer, Tom Inskip and William Owens, Brauckmann, Wim Tjerkstra and Wolfgang Moll also used the helicopter.

The helicopter was also used by some retired and serving military personnel.

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