Gandapur rejects summary for procurement of expensive vehicle

Bureau report
Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

PESHAWAR: A summary about the procurement of an expensive luxury vehicle for advisor to chief minister on social welfare has embarrassed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, leaving Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur with no other option but to reject it.

Interestingly, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has announced austerity measures by reducing the expenditure due to financial difficulties in the province.

However, the Social Welfare Department had moved the summary to the chief minister for his approval to purchase an expensive vehicle for Advisor to Chief Minister on Social Welfare Mashal Yousafzai.

A copy of the summary was leaked to the media and it went viral on social media.

It caused a huge embarrassment for the PTI government particularly Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur who himself had announced the austerity drive in the province.

People started criticising the provincial government for its “double standards”, saying the government on one hand launched its austerity campaign due to lack of funds but on the other hand, it was spending public resources on purchasing luxury vehicles for unelected people in the government.

When contacted, Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur denied receiving the summary.

“No summary from her department came to me,” the chief minister argued.

However, The News has received a copy of the summary sent to the chief minister. “According to cabinet decision dated 17-10-2013, the Zakat, Ushr, Social Welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment Department is bound to provide vehicle to respective Minister, Advisor and Special Assistant to Chief Minister, as the case may be, for the purpose of Security (Annex-I). The Advisor to Chief Minister for Zakat, Ushr, Social Welfare, Special Education and Women Empowerment Department has requested for provision of a suitable vehicle for various official duties/tours to District Offices across the Province (Annex-II). Due to non-availability of such designated vehicle for minister, no other option left with the department but to move a summary for the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regarding purchase of new vehicle and relaxation of ban on purchase of new vehicle imposed by the Finance Department vide circular letter No. BO.I/FD/5-8/2023- 24/Austerity Measures dated 05.03.2024 (Annex-III).

It pointed out that the existing vehicle of the Secretary Social Welfare Department being an old model had completed its prescribed life of seven years as mentioned in the delegation of powers, hence needs replacement.

It stated that the chief minister was requested to approve purchase of two vehicles for the official use of Advisor to Chief Minister and Secretary Zakat Ushr, Social Welfare, Special Education & Women Empowerment Department during the current financial year 2023-24 after relaxation of ban. Existing prices of the vehicles are as under: Toyota Fortuner V 4x4 2694 CC Automatic Rs17,107,000.

According to government officials and summary, the department secretary had also added an additional request for another vehicle, KIA Sportage Alpha 1999 CC, Automatic, Petrol, Rs7,300,000, for use of the department secretary.

Dr Aneela Mahfooz Durrani, Secretary Zakat, Usher, Social Welfare Special Education & Women empowerment Department, has stated in the summary that there was no vehicle in good condition for the use of minister of social welfare, while the vehicle of the secretary has completed its life i.e, seven years.

Meanwhile, Mashal Yousafzai explained her position to the media, saying the proposal was drafted by her department but it was not sent to the chief minister. She said she was the only one in the cabinet who was nominated by PTI founder Imran Khan and therefore some people in the government were not happy with her presence.