Another failure.

THE average Pakistani may not be able to put three meals on the table for their family, but that has not been enough to compel the country's political leadership to forego the luxuries they enjoy at the expense of the public exchequer.

Several 'austerity measures' had been announced with great fanfare last month in what was touted as a bid to slash ministries' and departments' spending by Rs200bn annually. Yet, the government seems to be having trouble enforcing these measures despite a dedicated monitoring committee tasked with overseeing the implementation of the prime minister's austerity plan.

According to a news report in yesterday's pages, 16 of the 30 luxury vehicles given to cabinet members, parliamentary secretaries, and chairmen of standing committees have yet to be returned to the government's central pool despite the passage of three weeks since the announcement of the 'immediate' measures.

It seems that despite the everyday misery that has been imposed on ordinary folk, we remain a country of plenty for those in power. According to the same report, many senior bureaucrats have also continued using their government-provided sports utility vehicles and luxury sedans.

Similarly, there has been no indication from either the judiciary or the armed forces with regard to cutting needless expenditures at a time when the country has virtually defaulted.

More shocking is the revelation that the Petroleum Division has even organised a junket for officials from public-sector oil and gas companies to fly in from as far as Karachi and Quetta to the...

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