Muzaffarabad [PoK], July 4 (ANI): While the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) government cries over the dearth of funds, it has ordered 72 new luxury cars worth more than Rs 34 crores (Pakistani rupees).
The Pakistan government has cut the development budget of PoK by Rs 2.5 billion.
This comes after the government of PoK accused the Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led federal government of slashing the development grant provided to PoK and warned that it could lead to a severe financial system disbalance, if not reviewed.
It is said that ten separate notifications were issued only from the services department for the purchase of new vehicles, reported local media.
Civil society groups and activists are severely criticizing the move by the PoK government over the buying of a new luxurious car.
This comes as the Pakistani government is facing flak over deep cuts in the PoK development budget. The members of the cabinet and parliamentary secretaries of the region have been registering their protests over these budgetary cuts.
Earlier it was reported by media that the cars were ordered by PoK President Barrister Sultan Mahmood.
A notification by the services and general administration department (SGAD) read the government had approved of a Mercedes Benz S500 4MATIC Sedan Long (RHD) car for the president.
These current developments triggered a slew of angry comments from people from different walks of life after they went viral on social media.
"While the president is not legally barred from buying an even expensive car, it does not behove him to do so at a time when his party is crying hoarse about the budget cuts that it says will affect its plans to deliver in productive, social and development sectors," tweeted Naila Altaf Kayani, a well-known Kashmiri analyst.
A Saudi Arabia-based activist Saad Maqsood, wrote, "In Pakistan, they don't have money to consume even poison, but from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad, there is no end to the luxuries of the ruling elite."Moreover, Pro-PTI activists called upon party chief Imran Khan to take stock of the situation.
When the local media held a conversation with the spokesperson for PoK president Syed Kamal Haider regarding the issue, Haider said that the summary for the purchase of the new car was initiated by the previous government and they had not yet seen it.
In a similar incident, earlier the PoK government had approved an additional grant of Rs 20.34 million for the purchase of four new 1800cc Toyota Corolla cars for as many former prime ministers of the territory.
The new cars were being purchased for Sardar Yaqoob Khan, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, Chaudhry Abdul Majeed and Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi. They were supposed to return the old cars in their use after getting the new ones.
Earlier, highlighting the plight of the people of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), human rights activist and chairman of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said that the budget cut situation is alarming and should be addressed on "war footing".
He noted that, unfortunately, political leaders do keep claiming that the literacy rate in PoK is more than in any other province of Pakistan but the truth is different. "We still have the pass-fail system," he added in the Twitter post.
He said that concern has been expressed over pathetic conditions of primary schools at the union council level in PoK where students are "compelled to sit on the ground below open sky with no washrooms, clean drinking water facilities".
The UKPNP chairman said that apart from this sorry state of affairs, "there is an acute shortage of teachers as well."(ANI)