‘This is my son-in-law’s plane,’ Maryam Nawaz responds to a Pakistani reporter’s tweet criticising ex-PM

  • NAB probing ‘misuse’ of KP Government’s choppers by PTI chief Imran Khan

LAHORE – Four prominent members of the ruling Sharif family reached Lodhran – a district of Punjab – on Saturday to address a public gathering days after their party won a key election in NA-154 against opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Hours after the deposed prime minister along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif landed on the ground after travelling in a plane, an investigative reporter took to Twitter to draw a comparison between the country’s top-notch leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, using the ‘official’ aircraft.

Fakhar Durrani, of Jang Group, wrote (in Urdu): “If using Khyber Pakhtukhwa’s helicopter is haram (prohibited) for Imran Khan, is it halal (allowed) for Nawaz Sharif to use Punjab Government’s plane?”. His tweet also carried a clip of Nawaz Sharif leaving the plane as he reached Lodhran.

In response, Maryam Nawaz clarified that the plane belonged to her son-in-law Raheel Munir, adding that Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif, who was accompanied by his son Hamza Shehbaz, had already reached the venue to welcome the former premier.

Following the clarification, the reporter corrected his mistake on the social networking site.

The controversy originates from the alleged misuse of KP government’s official helicopters by PTI chairman Imran Khan for private visits – which is being investigated by the National Accoun­tability Bureau (NAB).

Earlier this month, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal directed the bureau’s KP director general to conduct an inquiry against CM Khattak and Imran Khan over 74-hour unofficial use of two government helicopters – Mi-17 and Ecureuil – by misusing authority.

The NAB move surprised many as before the anti-corruption watchdog was taking action against leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and bureaucrats.

NAB orders probe into Imran’s unofficial use of KP CM’s helicopters

The PTI has rejected the allegation and urged NAB to investigate misuse of official choppers by other provinces and political parties.

Also, in a statement, the provincial government maintained that Khan had never used any official helicopter for his private and personal use.

According to reports, Imran Khan has used MI-17 helicopter for 22 hours and Ecureuil for 52 hours. The per hour cost of flying stood at Rs28,000. The 74-hour flying cost is said to be Rs2.1072 million.

NAB received reports that had Khan chartered an MI-17 helicopter from a private firm, he would have to pay between Rs1m and Rs1.2m per hour and that for Ecurreuil from Rs500,000 to Rs600,000.

According to the principal adviser to the KP chief minister, one hour expenditure on technical training and aviation of an official helicopter is between Rs150,000 and Rs200,000.

If the PTI chairman pays Rs150,000 per hour for using the official helicopter, the total payable amount comes to Rs111m, but the amount mentioned in the official documents suggest that he paid only Rs2.1072m, NAB observes.

The NAB probe is currently in process.