JUST take a look at the parking area of any federal government building in any city. An official vehicle stops and the driver opens the door and drops off some gentleman before going back to the latter’s official home where the lady of the house will be waiting to go for picking up their children from educational institutions. Besides, the driver takes the lady to the shopping centre, beauty parlour and to her friend for lunch at a restaurant as part of daily routine.

There is a high tendency amongst government officials and their families to use official vehicles for their personal purposes. This kind of scenes can be easily seen in front of any government office and in its parking area, where imported automatic expensive vehicles of latest models bearing official number plates can be seen parked. All of them are naturally purchased by the public exchequer. Their drivers also keep these vehicles chilled by keeping the air-conditioner on much before the gentleman returns.

This is a common practice by most government officials and their families who use official vehicles for their personal purposes and activities, without any sense of moral obligations and accountability. The use of official vehicles can be observed in any city during working days, weekends and holidays on the roads, around shopping areas, at wedding receptions and other ceremonies, and at picnic spots.

Sometimes during the personal use for a long journey out of the municipal limits, these official vehicles often get involved in road accidents for which the departments bear heavy expenses on repairs.

We are already facing an economic crisis and the country is under heavy foreign debts. This has made it economically dependent on the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But despite this alarming situation, the country’s bureaucracy has refused to change its lavish lifestyle.

Due to the current financial crisis, petrol has gone beyond the reach of the common man as well as low-cadre government employees. The government should introduce a car-sharing scheme and pick-and-drop facility for government officials by utilising large buses and vans, like private-sector industrial enterprises do.

Besides, the name of the department and its logo must be put on both sides of official vehicles so that they can be identified easily. There should be a ban on unnecessary use of official vehicles and in an emergency situation, pool cars/staff cars should be used by the officials.

Israr Ayoubi
Karachi

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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