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PM cancels auction of historic Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman

July 11, 2018

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Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman has remained in use of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former president Ziaul Haq. — White Star
Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman has remained in use of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former president Ziaul Haq. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: After cancelling the auction of a historic Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman, caretaker Prime Minister Justice Nasirul Milk has decided to place it in a museum.

The Prime Minister’s Office was set to auction off the car on June 22 but when the matter was brought to the attention of the caretaker prime minister, he ordered for the cancellation of the auction and directed that the historical car be placed in a museum.

The car in question has remained in use of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former president Ziaul Haq.

In May this year, during the PML-N government, the Prime Minister’s Office had advertised that it will auction the Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman 1970 on June 22.

According to sources, three car enthusiasts- Haris Aziz, Karim Yusuf and Moin Abbasi- played a major role in highlighting the issue and also wrote to the secretary Cabinet on June 19 for the cancellation of the auction.

Directs placement of the car in museum

In their letter, the car enthusiasts pleaded that the car is one of the most expensive, sought after cars in the world and has been popular with world renowned celebrities and politicians including Leonid Brezhnev, Shah Mohammad Raza Pahlavi and King Khalid of Saudi Arabia.

Most of these cars are now displayed in museums around the world and the particular model owned by the government is a long wheelbase door Pullman of which only 304 were made, they said.

“The particular car is a national asset and one of historical significance and not one that should come into private hands as these cars are considered cult classics and highly desirable worldwide and there is very strong probability that this car will exported out of Pakistan and sold in international market resulting in the loss of one of our significant national assets,” the letter says, and pleaded for cancellation of the planned auction.

The letter pointed out that there are also two Cadillac Limousines on display inside the Army Museum in Rawalpindi which were also former presidential vehicles and have

been rightly preserved and displayed as such. Fatima Jinnah’s cars have also been recently restored and put on display in Flag Staff House, Karachi.

The letter says there is a 1970s vintage Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that was gifted by a former Saudi King and that warrants to be placed in a museum for public display.

Talking to Dawn, one of the car enthusiasts, Haris Aziz said he is thankful to the caretaker prime minister for cancelling the planned auction and ordering that it should be placed in a museum. He said the car is currently being cleaned and repaired.

An official at the Prime Minister’s Office told Dawn the auction has been cancelled and that the prime minister has decided to place the car in a museum.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018