LAHORE - Lahore High Court Justice Sheikh Imtiaz on Tuesday referred a constitutional petition against VIP culture, recommending the chief justice to constitute a larger bench for hearing the matter.

The judge was hearing the petition moved by Lawyers Foundation office-bearer Syed Feroz Shah Gilani. This is the second petition filed before the court. Earlier, an identical petition was also moved by Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed which is also pending before the court.

The petitioner submitted that public functionaries ‘living like kings and princes in palatial government houses’ are not following the Sunnah of Holy Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him); thus they are also contravening the country’s Constitution. He said Pakistan’s rulers have built air-conditioned stables for their horses that are offered costly jam to eat. At the same time, he added, hundreds of Pakistanis sifted through garbage to get food.

The petitioner stated the government is spending Rs1 million per day on the staff, household and allowances of the President House, Rs1.2 million on the PM Secretariat, Rs2 million on the Senate, Rs4 million on the National Assembly and Rs200 million per day on the Cabinet Secretariat.

He pointed out that Pakistan is printing Rs3 billion new notes per day, causing a hike in inflation rate. He said over the past four years, public debt had risen from Rs6 trillion to Rs12 trillion. He said now every man, woman and child was indebted to Rs61,000 each.

The petitioner said that UK PM David Cameron used to ride a bicycle before he became prime minister and had to switch to an official car due to security concerns. He said London Mayor Boris Johnson went to work on bicycle. He said that extra expenditures and luxurious life style which were a legacy of the colonial era needed to be declared void under Article 8 (1) and (2) of the Constitution.

He said the closing of roads and streets for VIPs is a violation of the fundamental human rights. He said the Presidency, PM House, Governor and CM Houses, ministers’ enclave and “palaces of all state functionaries” should be declared a violation of the principle of social justice.

He said that the court should direct the government to abandon ‘luxurious living’ in the light of Article 38(B) of the Constitution. He said that all schools like Aitchison College in Lahore must open its gates to the poor children. He said children of both the poor and rich must sit in a same class room and study a unified syllabus.