By now, most people do realise how brutally the country has been plundered, resources pilfered and opportunities stolen. They well recognise that neither the inept political leaders, regardless of their parties, nor the dysfunctional bureaucracy have the capacity or the will to rescue the sinking ship. But perhaps what is not sufficiently clear and what they must rebel against is the fact that the rich and the powerful ruling elite is itself the cause of driving us to the pits.
They syphon and plunder, legally and illegally, all the wealth and vehicles, lands and loans, perks and protocols and support and subsidies of this country. It is time the ordinary citizens of Pakistan stand up and demand 50 percent reduction in salaries and pensions of government officials (across the board) drawing more than Rs 400,000 as salary or Rs.150,000 per month as pension.
Numerous other self designed benefits, perks and facilities, created for the grade 16 and above civil and military officials could be entirely eliminated. Just consider the savings that could be made by eliminating just one single perk – official vehicles.
Pakistan, one of the poorest countries of the world has the highest number of government vehicles, allocated to its officials, ostensibly for official use, but (mis)used ruthlessly and with vengeance, for private chores of self, family and friends. Our four provinces and the Federal government officials have allocated to themselves over 150,000 such government vehicles. Besides the cost of the vehicle the government also pays for their fuel and maintenance. The package in most cases also includes a driver. What stops the government from withdrawing 90 percent of all these vehicles keeping just about 10% in common pools, to be used on specific need basis, but never for pick and drop from home. In UK, USA and Canada, even the ministers are not allocated cars for pick and drop from home.
Conservatively assuming each vehicle uses 200 liters of fuel each month, withdrawing all government vehicles would mean an immediate saving of 30 million liters of fuel every month. This translates to a fuel import saving of $22 million per month or $264 million per year.
Why is the government not adopting this and numerous other similar cost saving schemes. It is because the rich do not like to curtail their own obscene luxuries and the ordinary citizens decide to keep their mouths shut.
It would be sane and patriotic if we all speak.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance