`Pak UN mission ignored liquor serving orders`
Islamabad: Pakistan`s mission at the UN spent Rs 2.82 lakh on the purchase of alcoholic beverages despite government instructions that liquor should not be served at official events by the country`s missions abroad, according to a report presented to a Parliamentary panel.
The New York-based mission purchased the alcoholic beverages for presentation as gifts and for "entertainment on tours outside the country of posting”, The News daily quoted the report as saying.
The report was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament yesterday.
The report said the Pakistan government`s directives prohibit the serving of liquor at official parties hosted by missions abroad.
The purchase of alcoholic beverages for any purpose from the "sumptuary allowance or any other government allocation" too is not permissible.
The liquor was purchased by Pakistan`s mission at the UN during 2006-07.
According to the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan that was submitted to the Public Accounts Committee, the mission at the UN spent Rs 130,611 on alcoholic drinks that were presented as gifts from the ambassador on Christmas.
Another Rs 40,796 was spent on purchasing liquor for "official entertainment" by the Ambassador and Rs 113,597 was claimed for expenditure on liquor by the Ambassador while on tour outside the country of posting.
The Prohibition Order of 1979, a law passed during the regime of military ruler Zia-ul-Haq, barred the consumption of liquor by Muslims in Pakistan but the country has a thriving bootlegging industry.
Alcohol is available at a premium in most Pakistani cities.
Non-Muslims need to obtain a special permit which can be used to buy limited amounts of alcohol every month.
Unlike the more conservative provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, alcohol is more openly sold across Sindh, especially in Karachi.
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