Press release claims P.M. Imran Khan’s upcoming trip to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos will only cost $68,000
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming three-day trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he will be participating in the World Economic Forum, will cost Pakistani taxpayers just $68,000, according to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Citing the low cost as proof of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government’s commitment to austerity, the press release claimed former rulers, as compared to Khan’s bill, had utilized “millions of dollars.”
Detailing the cost of previous Davos trips, the press release claimed Nawaz Sharif’s trip to Davos had cost the national exchequer $762,000; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s $561,000; and Yousaf Raza Gilani’s $459,000.
The press release claimed the Davos trip was not the first time P.M. Khan had slashed the budgets utilized by previous administrations. During his trip to the U.S. capital earlier this year, it said, Khan had set “a precedent” by costing Pakistani taxpayers just $67,180 for a four-day tour, as compared to former president Asif Ali Zardari’s stay in 2009 costing $752,688, and former P.M. Sharif’s stay in 2013 costing $549,853.
Similarly, said the press release, P.M. Khan’s total expenses during his September trip to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly had cost $162,578. Comparing this figure to previous rulers, it said, found Zardari spending $1,309,620 in 2012; Sharif $1,113,142 in 2016; and Abbasi $705,019 in 2017.
In his inaugural speech to Parliament, Prime Minister Imran Khan had vowed to implement austerity measures to help fix Pakistan’s economy. Among the measures announced, he had said the Prime Minister’s House would be converted into a university and its staff shifted elsewhere; this plan was eventually shelved as ‘unworkable.’ He also told ministers to work 14 hours a day, avoid serving tea and refreshments in their offices; and ordered the sale of government-owned vehicles and livestock. The vehicle auction raised around Rs. 200 million, far less than the value predicted by lawmakers, with local media reporting more funds were spent advertising the auction than were earned by it.