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Islamabad, Sep 17: The cash-strapped Pakistan government on Monday sold 70 cars “above their market price” as it started the process of auctioning 102 luxury vehicles of the PM House under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive, a senior minister said.
Apart from luxury cars, the government, facing huge debts and liabilities, plans to auction eight buffaloes kept by deposed and jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House for his “gastronomic requirements”.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the first batch of 70 vehicles have been sold successfully.
“These cars were sold above their market price,” Chaudhry claimed amid reports that the government hopes to collect Rs 2 billion (USD 16 million) from the auction.
He added that vehicles which are classified as protected (bomb and bullet-proof) would be auctioned next.
The cars that are being auctioned include four recent models of Mercedes Benz, eight bullet-proof BMWs, three 5000cc SUVs and two 3000cc SUVs of 2016 model.
Twenty-four 24 Mercedes Benz of 2016 model are also being auctioned. Two of the 28 cars are 4,000cc bullet-proof vehicles, the report said.
Further, 40 Toyota cars, a Lexus SUV, and two Land Cruisers are also up for auction.
Other vehicles that are being auctioned include eight Suzuki cars, five Mitsubishi vehicles, nine Hondas and two jeeps.
The cars will be sold to those who have the highest bid, the report said.
In his first address to the nation, Prime Minister Khan had emphasised on cutting government expenditure. As part of the cost-cutting initiative, he had announced the auction of surplus PM House vehicles.
Pakistan’s debt and liabilities rose sharply to nearly Rs 30 trillion or 87 per cent of total size of the economy at the end of previous fiscal year, according to media reports.
Statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) last month showed that in the last five years, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities increased Rs 13.5 trillion or 82.8 per cent to stand at Rs 29.9 trillion. Five years ago, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities were Rs 16.4 trillion, the Express Tribune reported.