NRO for Imran?: KP assembly bill seeks to grant CM carte blanche for helicopter, aircraft use
A bill has been tabled in the Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP) assembly on Monday extending a carte blanche for Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on using helicopters and other aircraft without any ability to question their use despite being contracted on public money.
The bill was decried by the opposition as an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) for former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan who has been known to frequently abuse a facility legally allowed only for provincial chief minister, his ministers, advisors, special assistants, public or government servants.
Provincial Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai on Monday tabled another amendment to the KP Minister’s Salaries, Allowances and Privilege Act 1975 Amendment Bill in the assembly.
The amendment bill was extended to grant the chief minister of the province access to use aircraft other than helicopters at government expense – irrespective of acquiring such services from the public sector or the private sector – for “his official use or for any journey relating to his duties as such.”
The chief minister would be allowed to grant use of such aerial vehicle to a minister, advisor or special assistant, public servant or government servant. The chief minister or other authorized officials will be allowed to fly together with support staff, aides and other individuals deemed necessary for such air journey or excursion.
Further, the bill stipulates that all flights undertaken from November 1, 2008, until the particular law comes into force will be protected from questioning.
Opposition members, however, claimed that KP government had tabled the amendment to give the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman a clean chit for using the provincial helicopter and other aircraft, especially to travel to political rallies against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif around KP.
With the PTI enjoying greater numbers, they managed to force the bill through the house.
The opposition slammed this move, terming the provincial legislature but a rubber stamp for a party chief.
It is worth noting that the KP government owns two helicopters, including the Soviet-designed Mi-17, which the chief minister and cabinet members using them for official purposes.