PESHAWAR: Opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Wednesday demanded of the government to reduce perks and privileges of bureaucrats, who, they insisted, enjoyed luxurious life by utilising the taxpayers’ money but didn’t serve them.

The opposition members also tabled cut motions about the grant proposed for the administration department, declaring its performance unsatisfactory.

The house, which met with Deputy Speaker Mehmood Jan in the chair, began the approval of demands for grants government departments needed to manage their affairs for the upcoming fiscal.

Justifying reduction in the demand for grant for the administration department, Khushdil Khan of the opposition Awami National Party said the unprecedented hike in the prices of essential goods had badly hit the people of all walks of life, but even then, the salaries and fringe benefits of bureaucracy had been increased.

Insists civil servants living luxurious life off taxpayers’ money

He said the money spent on bureaucrats should be reduced as the taxpayers couldn’t fund their luxurious lives any more.

“There is no check on bureaucrats as to how many official vehicles they’re to use. Often, the vehicles with government number plates are spotted in bazaars and tourist places,” he said.

The opposition lawmaker wondered who allowed bureaucrats to give away official vehicles to their family members for use.

Rehana Ismail of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal claimed that bureaucrats misused the taxpayers’ money.

She said everyone in the government knew that more than one dozen official vehicles were used by a few administrative secretaries.

Humaira Khatoon of the MMA opposed budget for the administration department saying the ‘gap’ between bureaucracy and people is fast widening.

“The administrative secretaries have no time to meet the people and resolve their problems,” she said.

The lawmaker said administrative secretaries reached their offices at 11am, while air-conditioners of their offices were turned on by their subordinates at 9am to cool the rooms before the arrival of their bosses.

She said the cost of the bureaucrats’ luxurious lives was borne by the poor people, who were badly hit by joblessness and escalating prices of essential goods.

Parliamentary leader of the ANP Sardar Hussain Babak demanded of the government departments to stop fooling the house by producing false information, and to send their representatives in to attend proceedings.

Mr Babak also criticised the government departments over their ‘failure’ to frame rules of business for several laws approved by the assembly several years ago, which, he said, led to their non-implementation in letter and spirit.

ANP member Nisar Mohmand said the budget for government officials was a burden for the people, especially when the former had no time to resolve the latter’s genuine problems.

He said if the bureaucrats had no time for lawmakers, how they would spare time to listen to the people’s complaints.

Leader of the opposition Akram Khan Durrani alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders and its workers had illegally occupied the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad.

He alleged that most of the former federal ministers of the Imran Khan-led last federal government lived in the KP House off the provincial government’s money.

ANP’s Sardar Hussain Babak, Salahuddin Khan Momand, Nisar Mohmand and other opposition members also complained about the misuse of the KP House.

They said whenever they had needed a room in the KP House, the administration denied that insisting all rooms were occupied.

The members also complained that the administration of the KP House didn’t share with them the names of room allottees and charged paid by them.

Responding to the opposition’s criticism, food minister Atif Khan said the chief minister had directed the chief secretary in the last cabinet meeting to frame rules of business for all pending laws.

Accepting the opposition MPAs’ complaint, he said getting a room in the KP House was difficult.

The minister, however, said if a PTI leader or its workers stayed in KP House for a night or held party meetings there, it was not a burden on the province’s kitty as the expenses were borne by the party.

He said the government would utilise Rs35 billion for providing flour at subsidised rate to the people and Rs28 billion on Food Card meant for subsidising edible items.

The chair adjourned the session until Thursday (today).

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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