Govt highlights billions spent on trips by former rulers
Details of the expenditures were presented in the federal cabinet’s meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday after which Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed shared the figures.
Saeed said that it was important to provide the context under which such lavish expenditures were made, slamming "kingly" spending of taxpayers money by former public office holders on the pretext of setting up camp offices, security arrangements and entertainment.
Murad shared that former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani had five camp offices, three in Lahore and two in Multan and he spent Rs245 million on these.
He then moved on to former president Asif Ali Zardari and said his two camp offices in Larkana and in Naudero as well as his security arrangements resulted in the wastage of over Rs3.164 billion of taxpayers money over 2013-2018 when he was not even president of the country.
Zardari had had 246 cars on the pretext of security in 2015, whereas in 2016 he had fled the country, in 2017 he had 164 cars, and in 2018 he had 158 cars, Murad shared.
“According to Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and State Bank of Pakistan reports, most of the poor live in Sindh and south Punjab,” he added.
The minister highlighted that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had 'wasted' $460,000 on a single visit to the United States in 2015 and spent 327,000 pounds from the national kitty on his treatment in London.
He continued that over Rs4,310m from the public kitty was spent to provide security to a 'disqualified' Nawaz Sharif in Riawind when it was declared a camp office by his brother and former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The lawmaker said Shehbaz Sharif had spent Rs8.726bn on his security as chief minister adding that he spent Rs1.3bn by using the special plane of prime minster 526 times, despite having his own helicopter.
Former president Mamnoon Hussain spent Rs303m on the security of his camp office in Karachi, Murad elaborated.
The PTI minister then drew an analogy of the lifestyle of former rulers with incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan saying, he would save the national wealth by staying in the Pakistan embassy during his forthcoming visit to the United States.
Murad said in the same manner, the security expenditure of the Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar had also been reduced by 86 per cent and travel expenses by 60 per cent after PTI assumed power last year.
He was addressing a press conference alongside Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq.
On the occasion, Dr Awan said the lavish living style of former ruling families indicated that they had enjoyed their tenures in government like the Mughal kings.
They did not miss any opportunity to plunder wealth of the poor Pakistani nation, already burdened with billions of dollars loan, by establishing luxurious camp offices and spending billions of rupees in terms of security arrangements and entertainment allowances, she added.
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