ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday quashed the austerity claims made earlier as he and his cabinet members boarded a ‘special VVIP plane’ for their first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia.
After coming into power, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had announced to adopt a more austere attitude towards public funds and decided that PM Imran will not use special planes for foreign tours.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also announced that the prime minister had also surrendered his entitlement to first-class travel tickets for international tours.
The prime minister and his select entourage members left for Saudi Arabia in a ‘special VVIP aircraft’ from Nur Khan Airbase today, sources in the Foreign Office said.
PM Imran is undertaking the state visit on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. He will meet with the kingdom’s top brass and seek to bolster bilateral ties, as well as, discuss the regional security situation besides touching upon issues of mutual interest.
The premier is also accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Chaudhry and Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.
Following a cabinet meeting held on August 24, the information minister had held a detailed press conference to announce the government’s austerity measures.
“[The] prime minister will travel in club class. Similarly, first class air travel facility has also been withdrawn from president, foreign minister, the NA speaker, Senate chairman, Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief of Army Staff. They will also be entitled to club class only,” Fawad Chaudhry had said while categorically announcing that PM would no more use his special plane for future foreign official visits.
“The PM’s only motive behind the decision is to regain public’s trust in the government,” the minister explained.
The PTI supremo will also visit Masjid-e-Nabwi in Madina and perform Umrah on the trip as well.
PM Imran will also visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on his way back. He, along with the delegation, will arrive in Abu Dhabi in the evening on September 19, and will be received by Crown Prince Mohammaed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.