Pakistan Politics: Who is getting how much security at public expense?

A report written by Ahmad Noorani published in today’s “The News” gives details of security arrangements provided to Pakistani politicians;

Unprecedented and overblown protocol in the name of security to political leaders, claiming to bring a change in Pakistan, knows no bounds causing the poor nation to pay Rs407 million per annum only on the Sharifs, Rs56.79 million on Faryal Talpur and Rs24 million on General (R) Musharraf.

Security officials say there is no doubt that political leaders need security because of the deteriorated law and order situation in the country, but in most cases provision of security and government vehicles in not rational or justifiable.

 

According to the Islamabad Police top officials dealing with the highest level of security threats, a political leader should not get more than three to four policemen for security.

 

“In case of national leaders facing acute security threat maximum 10 to 15 policemen should be deployed. And if managed with planning and advance techniques, these numbers are more than enough,” say these officials.

 

However, our political leaders, claiming to change Pakistan, act like emperors as far as the record of their security and protocols speaks.

 

According to the Punjab government, 761 policemen and 52 government vehicles have been provided to the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and their families. Punjab Police say at least Rs40,000 is spent in terms of salary, food and many other expenses on one policeman per month, making Rs365.28 million per annum expense.

 

Police sources confirm 52 new vehicles at the disposal of Sharif family, costing the national exchequer around Rs104 million. The fuel expense of these vehicles is Rs2.6 million per month, making it Rs31.2 million per annum and depreciation is counted at Rs10.4 million per annum.

 

This makes the whole expense on only Sharifs’ security and protocol from national exchequer at Rs406.879 million per annum (Rs33.9 million per month). As this security protocol has been continuing for the last more than five years, it costs the national exchequer around Rs2.034 billion during this duration.

 

According to Islamabad Police, top PPP leader Faryal Talpur has been given 40 policemen at her Zafar House near Bani Gala, while five government vehicles are provided to her.

 

Besides this, 50 police commandos from Sindh Police have been inducted into the Islamabad Police who are deployed on her personal security. In addition, 20 Rangers also guard her.

 

According to Islamabad Police officials, 110 security personnel cost Rs4.4 million per month in terms of their salaries, food provision and other expenses (Rs40,000 per head).

 

It makes Rs52.8million expense per annum for the security personnel only. Cost of fuel, depreciation, maintenance on government vehicles with Faryal stand at Rs4 million per annum.

 

The whole expense stands at Rs56.8 million per annum. All this continues in the tenure of caretaker government without any change.

 

Islamabad Police says they have provided PTI chief Imran Khan, four policemen at his Bani Gala residence, but no government vehicle has been provided to him. Police say this security was provided to Imran more than a year ago. This means the total expense on his security stands at Rs1.9 million per annum (Rs0.16 million per month).

 

General Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the Constitution twice, has been given 30 policemen, 15 Rangers, one armored vehicle and two police vehicles. According to Islamabad Police officials, this security is in addition to the personal security of Musharraf which he already has as ex-president and ex-chief of army staff.

 

Musharraf reached Pakistan just recently, but if security protocol continues the government expense on 45 security personnel will be Rs24 million per annum.

 

Former interior minister Rehman Malik has been given 30 policemen by Islamabad Police along with two vehicles. The total expense incurred on his protocol will stand at Rs15.6 million per annum if he continues to have this much security.

 

Islamabad Police officials also confirm that former advisors like Dr Qayyum Soomro, Dr Asim Hussain and a son of Ahmad Riaz Sheikh have not only been provided with security, but they are also using government vehicles.

 

Most of these leaders can afford the cost of such security from their own pockets but are happily wasting the public money. The Supreme Court has taken suo moto notice of unprecedented security to former prime ministers, Sindh Assembly’s unconstitutional legislation for perks and privileges to ex-CM, ex-Speaker and ex-members, but this suo moto case does not discuss these hefty amounts paid from the national exchequer on protocol to these political leaders.

 

PML-N spokesman Pervez Rashid issued a press release on Saturday declaring that there was no need to present any logic to establish that there are threats to the life of the top PML-N leadership. He said if any harm was done to the PML-N leadership, President Zardari, caretaker PM and the ECP will be responsible.

 

The PML-N also said on Saturday that it was untrue that 761 policemen had been deployed with Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif and this number also includes the number of policemen deployed with different family members of the Sharif family.

 

With regard to the government vehicles, the PML-N said this figure of 52 vehicles also included vehicles which provide food to policemen deployed for the security of Sharif family.

 

Talking to The News, DIG Security Islamabad Police Tahir Alam told The News that he had taken charge only two days back and now he will do his best to rationalise the number of security personnel deployed with the top political leaders and will make it in line with the security threats.

 

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