Since Rehman Malik became the interior minister in 2008, close to four dozen ministry bureaucrats made 120 trips abroad. Official documents revealed that the finance division has disbursed up to Rs80.7 million for travelling purposes, from which, Rs29.3 million accounted for the interior minister’s expenses alone, since 2008.
Malik made at least 17 official visits to the United Arab Emirates, aimed at discussing the extradition of wanted fugitives and absconders, most notably of former president Pervez Musharraf, with officials of the Interpol. The trips yielded no notable returns.
Official documents available with The Express Tribune revealed that the interior ministry sent some 177 proposals for foreign visits to conserve foreign exchange on various security-related issues to the finance ministry for approval. The finance division only found 99 of those worth approving. The division also cited that it had already released Rs40 billion out of Rs55.80 billion to the interior ministry for the fiscal year 2011 to 2012.
The interior minister also visited the UK twice to discuss the extradition treaty with his counterpart. He spent Rs4 million on these two visits, seven days in total, in the UK. The documents further disclosed that around Rs12 million amounted to the airfare expenditure alone for the interior minister’s visits to Iran, UK, UAE, Afghanistan and several other countries.
Former interior secretary Qamar Zaman visited five countries. He spent Rs3.4 million when he travelled to Qatar in 2009; France, Germany and USA in 2010 and India, France and UK last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.
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