ISLAMABAD: Foreign visits by four former Prime Ministers and serving Prime Minister Imran Khan have cost national finances around Rs3 billion over the past 12 years, official records show.
However, foreign visits by Prime Minister Imran Khan cut costs. He uses chartered planes on 20 of his 26 total official visits and commercial flights on international trips.
Geo News / The News has gone through official records regarding the details of the foreign trips of the PMs submitted to the DPR from 2009 to 2020.
About 119 questions regarding the PM’s 191 foreign tours, the president and foreign ministers were raised by MPs during this period.
However, discrepancies were found in what was officially said about PM’s overseas tours. A PTI and aide to the prime minister officially tweeted on November 20, 2020 that Prime Minister Khan spent only $ 11,000 (Rs1.7 million) on his trip to Afghanistan, while his predecessors Nawaz Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari spent $ 58,000 (Rs6 million) in 2015 and $ 44,000 (Rs3.8 million) in 2009, respectively.
In fact, the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs records submitted to Parliament on 17 February 2016 in response to a written question posed by Imran Zafar Leghari MNA revealed that then prime minister Nawaz Sharif spent Rs202,800 for his trip to Afghanistan on 12 May 2015.
Likewise, according to the Foreign Ministry’s answer submitted to Parliament in response to a question posed by MNA Sumaira Yasir Rashid on 12 March 2009, President Zardari at that time collectively spent Rs2 million on his two Kabul trips (18 Dec 2008 and 7 Jan 2009).
PTI further tweeted on November 20, 2020 that former prime minister Sharif spent $ 1.113 million (Rs. 115.8 million) on his UNGA trip in 2016, PM Abbasi spent $ 705,019 (Rs70.5 million) on UNGA travel on 2017 and PM Khan spent Rs25.9 million attending the UNGA session in 2019.
However, Parliamentary records show that according to the official Foreign Ministry response (submitted to Parliament on 24 July 2020) Prime Minister Sharif spent Rs 94.2 million on the UNGA trip in 2016. PM Abbasi spent Rs 62.4 million on his trip to UNGA in New York in 2017, revealed the official response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was submitted to Parliament in response to Senator Seemi Ezdi’s question on July 20, 2020.
PTI re-tweeted that former PM Sharif spent $ 549,853 (Rs59 million) on his trip to Washington in October 2013, President Zardari spent $ 752,688 (Rs. 63 million) on his visit to the US in May 2009 while PM Khan spent only $ 67,180 ( Rs. 10.9 million).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs records show that PM Sharif spent Rs. 31.5 million for his trip to the US in October 2013, according to official State Department records submitted to Parliament on February 17, 2016.
PM Gilani spent $ 459,451 (Rs. 43.7 million) on his way to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 2012, PM Sharif spent $ 762,199 (Rs. 80.8 million) in 2017, PM Abbasi spent $ 561,381 (Rs. 69.1 million) in 2018 and PM Khan spent $ 68,000 (Rs.10 million) to attend WEF 2019 in Davos, PTI was further tweeted. While the Foreign Ministry response revealed that PM Gillani spent Rs44.1 million on the WEF in Davos in 2012, PM Sharif spent Rs79.8 million in 2017, PM Abbasi spent Rs62 million in 2018 and PM Khan, according to PTI’s official tweet, spent Rs11 million for his trip to the WEF in Davos in 2019.
However, the figures given by the PTI and one of the Prime Minister’s cabinet members regarding these figures carry some discrepancies. The figures tweeted by this cabinet member about PM Kabul’s trip on November 20, 2020 also carry a discrepancy.
On Jan 25, 2020, cabinet members ‘tweets about PMs’ spending and President Zardari’s visit to Davos, New York, Washington that occurred in different years also brought miscalculations.
Official records further show that the five PMs spent Rs2.9 billion on their 191 international trips from 2008 to November 2020. They were accompanied by 5,576 people who spent 453 days abroad during this period.
The Prime Minister’s Office, members of the cabinet, PTI and the Office of Foreign Affairs did not respond to Geo News inquiries even though this correspondent has repeatedly approached them (PTI, PM’s Office, cabinet members and Foreign Office) in the past eight weeks.
PM Yousaf Raza Gillani made 48 international visits from June 2008 to June 2012), according to the Foreign Ministry’s response to the DPR in July this year.
It was further revealed that the trip cost Rs572 million to the state treasury. A total of 2,137 people accompanied him. Prime Minister Gillani spent 92 days abroad during the trip. The Foreign Ministry response delivered in response to MNA Shahbaz Babar’s inquiries before Parliament on 18 Sept 2013, however, revealed that the PM made 50 international visits, spent Rs632 million and accompanied a entourage of 395 officials and individuals.
PM Ashraf made 07 international trips with a group of 44 people from June 2012 to March 2013. He spent Rs. 58 million, according to the Foreign Ministry’s response presented before the Parliament on 18 Sep 2013. It was further revealed that PM Ashraf made 12 international trips with a group of 285 individuals and stayed 14 days abroad during this period.
PM Sharif made 92 official international trips that cost Rs1.8 billion to the state treasury from July 2013 to July 2017. He accompanied 2,390 people who stayed 262 days abroad during the trip, according to the Foreign Ministry’s response presented before Parliament in July last year. this. .
PM Abbasi spent Rs260 million on his 19 official international trips from 23 Jan 2018 to 19 May 2018. A total of 478 people accompanied him who spent 50 days abroad on this trip.
PM Imran Khan
PM Khan made 26 international trips from September 2018 to 27 February 2020 where the expenditure incurred for this visit was estimated at Rs140 million.
A total of 527 people accompanied the Prime Minister in the 26 foreign visits. He stayed 37 days abroad during that trip. An official response, however, to PM Khan’s overseas spending is waiting.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to questions raised by MNA Rana Sanaullah in 2019 informed Parliament that PM Imran Khan collectively spent Rs 40.4 million on his six international trips in 2018. And then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to two different questions posed by Senator Murtaza Javed Abbasi this year this (13 Jan 2020 and 19 Oct 2020) notified Parliament that PM Khan made 22 international trips from September 2018 to the beginning of this year which cost Rs120 million; while a total of 440 people accompanied him.
Khan spent Rs3.1 million on his KSA trip (18 Sep to 19 Sept) in 2018, Rs0.5 million on his 2018 UAE trip, Rs0.9 million on his KSA visit in 2018, Rs24.5 million on his 2018 trip to China , Rs4 million on his visit to the UAE in 2018 and Rs7.6 million on his visit to Malaysia on 20 November 2018.
Khan uses chartered planes on 20 of his 26 official visits as he takes commercial flights on international trips. Expenditures for chartering aircraft are being compiled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its response.