Pakistan President Arif Alvi has ordered the immediate withdrawal of a tender notice, published in the country’s newspapers, for the construction of a Rs2 million (Dh48,000) bird cage at his official residence.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had issued the notice, seeking quotations from reputable construction companies, to construct the cage for Macau parrots in the zoo section at President House.
The advertisements had attracted criticism on social media as well as the mainstream print and electronic media in the country.
Many people said they wondered how Prime Minister Imran Khan could justify his calls for austerity when the country’s president was spending lavishly on such luxuries.
Taking prompt notice of the media reports, a President House spokesperson said late on Thursday that the advertisements had been withdrawn and President Alvi had taken serious notice of the tender notice and directed an inquiry into the matter.
The spokesperson further said the tender notice had been released without approval from the relevant authority.
CDA deputy director (civil) at Aiwan-e-Sadr Mohammad Farooq Azam had floated the tender through advertisements in newspapers, and on the websites of the CDA and the Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).
The tender notice invited bids for the construction of new cages in the zoo area at Aiwan-e-Sadr, as the presidential residence is known, at a cost of Rs1,94 million (Dh45,897).
The tender was announced only two days after the much trumpeted “austerity budget,” and when Imran had announced his ministers had voluntarily agreed to a 10 per cent cut in their salaries.
The Prime Minister House had earlier sold buffaloes kept by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for an amount of Rs2.3 million and it was widely publicised in media.
Macaus are large yellow, red and blue parrots from Central and South America and they are considered exotic birds.
They are a member of the large group of neotropical parrots called macaws, native to humid evergreen forests of Central and South America.
The mini-zoo in the presidency was established in 2008, on the orders of then president Asif Ali Zardari, who is presently being held in custody of the National Accountability Bureau and facing investigation in a corruption reference.