The prime minister’s special assistant for political affairs, Naeemul Haq, announced on Tuesday that the government will auction off four helicopters of the cabinet division along with the other unused items.
After the surplus car auction , 4 surplus helicopters will be sold which are lying unused with the cabinet division. Plus , now listen to this, 8 buffaloes which Nawaz kept at the PM house for his gastronomic requirements. So all potential buyers please get ready.
— Naeem ul Haque (@naeemul_haque) September 10, 2018
In a message on Twitter, Haq said the surplus helicopters to be sold are not being used by the cabinet division since the government ended up buying new helicopters to replace the old models. These helicopters have been parked at heliports for several years.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said on Thursday that the helicopters will be given to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) so that they can use them as aerial ambulances.
But according to a report by BBC Urdu, none of the four helicopters being put up for auction by the government have valid working order certificates.
The report said, “All four helicopters have been in a ramshackle condition for a long time due to unavailability of spare parts”. The cabinet division has also informed the prime minister’s office in writing that it would need a lot of money to refurbish the helicopters so they are fit to be auctioned.
Manufactured by Bell Helicopters, the American government had presented two UH-1H helicopters between 1971 and 1974 and two between 1992 and 1993 to Pakistan as a gift for “relief and rescue” activities. Since these helicopters were originally intended for relief operations, they can also be equipped with ammunition — another hurdle in the public auction.
The report states that, “But judging from the condition of these machines, it will be next to impossible to find a prospective buyer”.
The fate of the helicopters will be decided after the cabinet briefs Prime Minister Imran Khan on the issue.