Govt accuses Nawaz, Zardari of spending billions on foreign trips

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The federal cabinet has directed Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog to discourage the use of electronic media by convicts to build their narrative.

“The cabinet took notice that in any democracy the use of media for promotion of personal interests or to put national institutions under pressure by convicted criminals or under trial persons is never allowed,” Shafat Mahmood told media after the cabinet’s meeting.

The cabinet urged the PEMRA to fulfill its responsibilities and discourage such trend.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Advisor on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Chairman FBR to ensure that prices of essential commodities including flour, ghee and pulses are kept to a reasonable level so that there is no additional burden on people of lower income backgrounds.

The cabinet showed concern over the fact that former Federal Minister Khawaja Asif was a salaried employee of a foreign organization during the time of his minister-ship which is not only against his position but also contravened his oath.

The cabinet directed the Interior Ministry to furnish a report after completing investigations of this violation.

The cabinet was given a detailed briefing on number of foreign visits of former President Asif Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the expenditures incurred to the national exchequer.

Shafqat Mehmood while giving details of the visits said Asif Zardari during his presidency made 134 foreign visits and spent 257 days abroad.

He also took 3,500 people along with him on these trips.

The visits cost 1.42 billion rupees to the national exchequer at a time when the country was under heavy burden of debts.

Shafqat Mehmood said Zardari had visited Dubai 51 times spending Rs100 million Of these, 48 visits were private. He spent Rs320 million on his 17 visits to the UK.

The minister said Nawaz Sharif during his time of premiership had spent 262 days abroad.

The former premier spent Rs1.84 billion on his foreign visits. Nawaz Sharif made 24 trips to London costing Rs223.9 million.

To a question, Shafqat Mahmood said Prime Minister Khan is visiting the USA this month on invitation of President Trump.

He said it has been decided that Prime Minister will stay at the residence of Pakistani ambassador to the US to save costs. He said every effort will be made to minimize expenditures during this visit.