The previous government under the tutelage of Asif Zardari allowed the import of nearly 200 bullet-proof vehicles for politicians, businessmen and diplomats, accepting their claim that in the increasingly deteriorating law and order conditions they needed special measures for their protection.
Prominent among the importers of such vehicles were Asif Ali Zardari, who during 2008-2013, ordered two Land Cruisers and one Mitsubishi Pajero. Mr Zardari, according to the documents, paid over Rs22 million duty for the vehicles.
Balochistan’s former Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani imported two vehicles over the last five years. He imported a new brand, Hummer H2, in 2008-2009 and paid Rs9 million duty. But as the chief minister he got a duty-free 6000C Audi A8. The papers showed that he got a waiver of a staggering amount of Rs47 million on the second vehicle.
The list included a number of politicians who, to beef up their personal and family members’ security, got special permission from the federal government to import tailor-made costly vehicles.
To avoid the misuse of these special category vehicles by criminals the government’s special permission is required for their import. The interior ministry deals with the subject. According to a ministry official, an applicant has to explain his stature as an important person of society and to substantiate the security threats he or she faced to obtain a no-objection certificate.
Among the politicians allowed to import bullet-proof vehicles on payment of required duty and taxes included PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, former PML-Q and present PML-N leader Tariq Azeem, PPP leader Munawar Ali Talpur, former federal minister and now adviser to the PML-N government Shaukat Tareen, former MNA Abdul Qadir Gilani, Saleem Saifullah Khan, Anwar Saifullah Khan, Agha Siraj Durrani, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, PML-Q leader Mohsin Elahi, PPP leader Faryal Talpur, PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Senator Afrasiab Khattak and Allama Syed Sajid Naqvi.
Shehbaz Taseer, the kidnapped son of the late governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, imported a Land Cruiser during 2008-2009.
The Registrar of the Supreme Court, according to documents, imported a Mercedes Benz S600 after payment of Rs30 million during 2008-2009.
Allama Tahirul Qadri of Tehreek-i-Minhajul Quran uses a bullet-proof vehicle which he imported in 2011-2012 after paying Rs13 million import duty.
Many prominent businessmen and companies have also availed themselves of the facility and the list included names of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
Of the 196 bullet-vehicles imported over the past five years, 41 vehicles mainly imported by missions of foreign countries were exempted from duty.