Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has claimed that the Federal Government incurred helicopter costs of Rs 984.35 million to former Prime Minister Imran Khan for his trip from Bani Gala to office of the Prime Minister when he was in power.
The newly appointed minister made the claims during a press conference on Thursday where she also accused Pakistani President Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran of selling gifts to Toshakhana for “monetary” benefits.
The PTI government was overthrown by a no-confidence motion tabled against it in the National Assembly in which the opposition won a majority of 174 votes in the 342-member chamber. Subsequently, on April 11, new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, was sworn in.
Read more: Prime Minister Imran’s helicopter trips cost ‘much more’ than claimed: report
According to the documents detailing the helicopter expenses released by the Ministry of Information, the travel expenses amounted to Rs 472.36 million while the maintenance of the helicopter cost more than the travel expenses – Rs 511.995 million.
From August 2018, when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came to power until December 2018, the then Prime Minister’s travel expenditure was Rs 37.93 million; in 2019, 131.94 million rupees; 2020, 143.55 million rupees; 2021, 123.8 million; and from January 2022 to March 2022, Rs35.14 million. The total number of flight hours amounts to 2,726.
Similarly, the maintenance of the former Prime Minister’s helicopter amounted to Rs 173.5 million in FY 2019-20, Rs 204.22 million in FY 2020- 21 and 134.27 million rupees in the financial year 2021-22.
Speaking to reporters, Marriyum refuted Imran’s stance on Toshakhana’s gifts, saying the items could be kept but could not be sold for “monetary” benefits.
“Regarding Toshakhana, Imran said ‘my gift, my choice’. Let me clarify that the gifts belong to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who can keep them but has no right to sell them in the markets. “, she added. mentioned.
Also read: Prime Minister Imran’s use of helicopter disregards VIP culture: Fawad
Toshakhana is a department that keeps valuable gifts received by rulers, parliamentarians and others from foreign Heads of Government/State and dignitaries as a sign of goodwill.
Marriyum said Imran, while in power, kept Toshakhana gifts at 20% of their price, but sold them for four times as much in markets.
He kept a total of 58 gifts including cufflinks, a ring and others worth Rs142 million. It also included the famous wristwatch, which alone sold for Rs180 million. All expensive items were kept by Imran before the percentage price increase of Toshakhana gifts by 20-50%, she pointed out.
She said that Imran’s income had increased considerably due to the sale of Toshakhana’s gifts. The assets raised through the sale of the gifts were far more valuable than his lifetime earnings.
The increase in income, she said, belied Imran’s account of the Toshakhana. “His deceit, hypocrisy and lies are on full display before the public.”
She accused Imran of abusing his authority to obtain monetary benefits, saying that in the first two months of his rule he earned 85 million rupees from gifts from Toshakhana, and a total of 142 million rupees in four years after keeping the 58 gifts.
The Minister asked the PTI Chairman to put the trail of Toshakhana’s gift money before the nation which needed answers regarding his corruption while in power.
Regarding the foreign funding, she said that the Election Commission of Pakistan had formed a committee on the funding of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, but the PTI had not raised a single objection during its work.
Similarly, the ECP itself has not raised any objection to the funding of the PML-N, nor has the State Bank of Pakistan issued any statement on the matter, she added. .
Marriyum said action was being taken against those involved in the malicious campaign against state institutions through bot tweets.
The robotic tweets were being investigated and all relevant authorities were working to track down the faceless tweeters, she added.
To a question, she said that Imran, while addressing party workers in Lahore later in the day, should tell them better about his government’s poor governance, which has caused poverty, unemployment, inflation and rising massive debts.
It was the nation that would decide who it would support – either those handing out sedition certificates or those working for the progress and development of the country, she added.
The law would take its course where authority was deflected, she answered another question. Other ministers will soon be sworn in, she noted. “We have received reports that some files are missing from the prime minister’s office,” she said in response to another question.
(With APP input)