Contrary to austerity claims, PM Imran boards 'VVIP plane' to Saudi Arabia

Published: September 18, 2018
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PM Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia. SCREENGRAB

PM Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia. SCREENGRAB

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.

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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 Similarly, first class air travel facility has also been withdrawn from president, foreign minister, the NA speaker, Senate chairman, Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chief of Army Staff.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.

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“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.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Aurangzeb Syed
    Sep 18, 2018 - 9:50PM

    Those criticizing PM Mr. Imran Khan for using an official jet to fly to Arabia must have wanted him to go on a camel. Right?Recommend

  • Muhammad Arif
    Sep 18, 2018 - 10:44PM

    PM and people he is visiting have a schedule. These schedules may not necessarily fit in with PIA’s schedule.

    In addition there can be security issues.
    Besides he took Air force’s plane and did not take entire PIA’s air bus plane for himself and his team like previous Pm’s did.Recommend

  • saleem
    Sep 18, 2018 - 10:52PM

    Pakistan Air Force has VVIP aircraft in its fleet?Recommend

  • Amir
    Sep 18, 2018 - 11:01PM

    At least you should acknowledge that IK did not take a b777 and 200+ people with him.

    And when KSA calls, we Pakistani can not refuse. Its our bread and butterRecommend

  • Fazal Naeem
    Sep 19, 2018 - 1:08AM

    PM and people he is visiting have a schedule. These schedules may not necessarily fit in with PIA’s schedule.
    In addition there can be security issues.
    Besides he took Air force’s plane and did not take entire PIA’s air bus plane for himself and his team like previous Pm’s did. SHAM,ERecommend

  • sterry
    Sep 19, 2018 - 1:33AM

    @Amir: But this PTI party said they would not seek loans and not ask for any money because there is 500 billion dollars stashed abroad which can be repatriated. So why go there and beg for money like he said he would never do?Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Sep 19, 2018 - 4:52AM

    What do you expect? 34 international agencies trying to get rid of him. Do you want him to fly a rickshaw? What a negative guy? Write something useful my friend, these type of stories won’t take you any far. You may have got my attention and that’s about it :)Recommend

  • Adnan
    Sep 19, 2018 - 6:41AM

    Doesn’t look like a VVIP aircraft to me.
    What kind of crap reporting is this!Recommend

  • mobin
    Sep 19, 2018 - 7:27AM

    entourage gives the impression that quite a few people are travelling with Ik -20+.Could u pl quantify?just a sensational headline and irresponsible reporting.did u raise your voice when the ex PM use to travel in Pia boeing with a plane load of hanger ons including quite a no of jour
    nalists – Probably you were one of them.
    are u a serious journalist or what?Recommend

  • Muneer
    Sep 19, 2018 - 7:36AM

    Using the aiircraft meant for the purpose is austerity. Do not spread disinformation.People understand propaganda by vested interests.Recommend

  • Liaqa Mirza
    Sep 19, 2018 - 9:07AM

    Pathetic headline. He is expected to use scheduled PIA flights and then catch connecting flights to go the Medina Pak, Mecca, Riyadh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and then back to ISB within three days?? Come on where is your common sense or it is biased mind? NS used to take whole plane with hundreds of officials and family members but I guess that was Ok with you?Recommend

  • Imran Kaffeel
    Sep 19, 2018 - 9:33AM

    I think we should stop criticizing on these silly issues and hope for the better Pakistan in future, if IK has even broke his commitments he is eligible for what he did it. IK sb, I suggest that you should always do the same in future aswell. Everyone please give him a time and don’t expect that every thing will start going right on first day, comeon GROWN Up, specially who are criticizing.Recommend

  • salman
    Sep 19, 2018 - 9:36AM

    what kind of bizarre article is this ? I know there is extreme jealousy against PTI among english newspapers but this one has crossed all the limits of trolling.Recommend

  • PakSal
    Sep 19, 2018 - 9:54AM

    Is Airforce One considered VVIP transport for the CEO of the country travelling with 4 people?Recommend

  • peter bollard
    Sep 19, 2018 - 10:00AM

    the pragmatic way. Recommend

  • Umar Ahmad
    Sep 19, 2018 - 11:33AM

    Its sad to see that the media also posts such contradictory statements to further increase the emotional instability of the people. Such media outlets should take the high road and only give the truth, not their twisted version of it. Teeli lagani ki koi zaroorat nahin hai. This is a news article but I think the writer is aspiring to write dramas instead.Recommend

  • Nazish
    Sep 19, 2018 - 12:23PM

    He should never have made such foolish promises that he would surely have had to take a u turn on as usual. Such as getting rid of 86 out of 88 bullet proof cars. He is either a con who makes such statements to get votes or a fool who knows no better…take ur pick as which one you’d like to rule you.
    All I’m saying is he’s not what he promises at all. A man who is supposed to be so honest wouldn’t lie and backtrack so much as a routine. Recommend

  • Farooq
    Sep 19, 2018 - 2:27PM

    This is the limit
    now should he travel in pia economy class and have the flight delayed by 2 hours?
    Tribune columns are getting meaningless and cheaper by the day Recommend

  • Adil
    Sep 19, 2018 - 3:01PM

    Its an Air Force plane, not a reserved PIA’s Boeing 777. Please stop this propaganda. The man is clearly a good leader we have gotRecommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Sep 19, 2018 - 9:59PM

    @Nazish:
    He’s the lesser of the evils out there; get with the program instead of nitpicking.Recommend

  • Eric R Kumar
    Sep 20, 2018 - 7:24AM

    No question, Imran khan has right to fly in vvip plan but then he has no right to tell poor Pakistanis that he will follow the austerity plan. These politicians think people have no brains of make fool of public. Never heard of armed forces having VVIP plane and that of-course Pakistani armed forces? Recommend

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