ISLAMABAD  -  Circles concerned inside National Highway Authority see an upcoming auction of 219 vehicles as a ‘cheap publicity stunt’ by the State Minister for Communication as according to them; the auction process is a routine matter.

To substantiate their argument, the officers said that during the last 3 years, under government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the authority had auctioned 543 vehicles and earned over Rs300 million, then how the incumbent state minister could claim credit for the routine auction of 219 vehicle this time.

However, on the other side, the State Minister for Communication Murad Saeed had proudly announced during a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Communication that following a policy announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he had ordered the NHA to sell out its extra vehicles and presented the move as a first and vital step towards austerity measures.

Following much-criticised policy of auctioning government’s assets under slogan of austerity, the NHA had flouted a tender to auction its 219 vehicles.

The vehicles placed for auction include 76 vehicles at the NHA headquarters in Islamabad, 24 at regional offices in KP, 41 at regional offices in Punjab, 23 at regional offices in Sindh, 35 at regional office in Baluchistan and 20 at regional office in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“Selling old or extra vehicles is not a new thing for government departments but restricting misuse of these resources by high ups is a challenge”, an officer said, adding, “Currently, around two dozen NHA vehicles are being used by people outside the authority without having a legal or moral justification.”

According to a list available with the Nation, 18 vehicles are presently deployed with different personalities outside the NHA including two vehicles, Toyota Corolla 2017 and Honda Civic 2016, with former Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarar, a Honda Civic 2017 with former Chairman Maroof Afzal, two vehicles Toyota Prado 2008 and Toyota Corolla 2010 with Secretary Ministry of Communication, Toyota Corolla 2010 with Additional Secretary Ministry of Communication Dr Tashfeen, Toyota Corolla 2010 with Joint Secretary Altaf Asghar, Toyota Corolla 2005 with Director Roads, Ministry of Communication Hameed Akhtar, Toyota Corolla 2014 and Toyota Vigo 2009 with Director General Audit, Toyota Corolla 2003 with PS to Secretary Communications, Suzuki Cultus 2003 with section officer, Ministry of Communication, Toyota Corolla 2010 with former member admin NHA Usman Akhtar Bajwa, Toyota Corolla 2012 with Member NHC Akhtar Aziz, Suzuki Cultus 2005 with PA to an anonymous Senator Qari Zahid  and a Toyota Corolla with Commissioner Multan.

Sources revealed that besides allocation of aforementioned vehicles, high ups of the authority were also using multiple vehicles unofficially without having an allocation and the same are shown as in general pool.

Currently, the NHA have 1,524 vehicles including 302 at headquarter, 509 in regions and 713 in zones and projects.



Muhammad Asad Chaudhry