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630 Million spent on PM foreign visits

09 May, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been on a foreign visits spree costing the national exchequer a staggering Rs 630 million. The expenditure on prime minister’s domestic travel is equally shocking. For instance, the reports said the government spent Rs 20 million on air-conditioning, food and other arrangements when the prime minister visited Sukkur a couple of days ago to lay the foundation stone of a motorway project.

The data obtained by shows the prime minister spent more than Rs 630 million from the national exchequer on his 69 foreign trips in last years. He did not travel alone; 631 people were part of his official entourage, who enjoyed foreign delicacies at the expense of the poor people of Pakistan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affair did not provide the details of at least six foreign visits of the prime minister, saying that details of the expenditure on these visits had not been finalised yet. Data showed the prime minister’s most favourite country was the United Kingdom; he visited the country 18 times. Sometimes, he used London as a transit to fly to the western hemisphere.

The prime minister spent approximately Rs 20 million on his first visit to China from July 3 to July 6 in 2013. Later, he spent Rs 2 million on his Hong Kong visit in July. In September, he visited Turkey for four days and the visit cost the kitty Rs 4 million.

Later, in 2013, he visited the United States and the United Kingdom for eight days and these visits cost the national exchequer almost Rs 90 million. He then again travelled to the United Kingdom on October 19 and spent 11 days there. This visit cost the kitty Rs 15 million. On the invitation of President Barack Obama, the prime minister travelled to the United States from October 20 to October 23, spending Rs 130 million on the visit. The prime minister flew to Sri Lanka on November 14 for four days and spent Rs 26.7 million on this visit. He visited Uzbekistan on November 28 and spent more than Rs 2.7 million. Also, in November, he visited Thailand, Myanmar and Afghanistan and the national exchequer bore the burden of more than Rs 8 million expenditure on these visits.

In 2014, the prime minister embarked on 16 foreign trips. He visited Turkey from February 12 to 15 and spent over Rs 3.1 million on this visit. He flew to Holland on March 23 and spent Rs 11.2 million on this visit. He had a stopover in the United Kingdom on his return from Holland to Pakistan that cost the kitty Rs 3.4 million. In April, the prime minister travelled to Hong Kong and this visit cost the exchequer Rs 600,000. He spent Rs 8.1 million on his China visit in April. Sharif again chose the United Kingdom for a tour and spent Rs19.9 million on this visit.

The prime minister also visited Iran, India, Tajikistan, United Kingdom, United States, China, Germany and Nepal that year and spent Rs 95.1 million on these visits. The prime minister travelled to the United Kingdom five times this year.

In 2015, the prime minister again visited various countries and spent Rs 177 million on his visits. He visited Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Norway, Belarus, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan, Malta, France and China. He travelled to the United Kingdom many times last year.

This year the prime minister visited Saudi Arabia on January 18, Iran on January 19 and Switzerland on January 20 and these visits cost the national kitty Rs 60 million. The prime minister has travelled to the United Kingdom twice this year so far. He also visited Qatar. Details of expenditure on prime minister’s medical treatment in the United Kingdom are not available so far.

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