By Iram Saleem
So it is official now. New friends of Prime Minister Imran Khan are emerging who are funding his foreign trips.
If Jehangir-like friends were not enough, more such a kind jumping in to cash in their investment on Mr ‘handsome’… spend a few bucks and in return get bumper crop. This is an idea of those investing on the prime minister of today in Pakistan.
In the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting last week, PM Khan disclosed that his trip was sponsored by his friends and well-known businessmen — Ikram Sehgal and Imran Chaudhry.
دنیابھرمیں ایک کہاوت مشہورہے"No ٖٖٖFree Lunch in USA" مطلب یہ کے ہر کھانےکی کوئی ناکوئی قیمت ہوتی ہے۔اگراکرام سہگل یاکوئی اوروزیراعظم عمران خان کادورہ اسپانسرکررہےہیں تواس کاکوئی ناکوئی مقصدضرورہوگا۔خان صاحب براہ مہربانی وزیراعظم کےعہدےکواتنارسواناکریں۔ غلط مثالیں نا قائم کریں۔ https://t.co/dCqYDRbMi9— Ansar Naqvi (@naqvi1966) January 24, 2020
Dawn reported in the ‘Breakfast at Davos’, Khan said: “My Davos trip cost 10 times less than those of the previous leaders.” He recalled that his trip to the UN General Assembly last November was the least costly with $160,000 as compared to former president Asif Zardari’s $1.4 million expenditure, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s $1.3m and even $800,000 of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Thanking Ikram Sehgal, a retired military officer and chairman of the Pathfinder Group, Mr Khan said: “He is instrumental in getting me here. Otherwise, I would not have burdened my government to pay a sum of $450,000 for two nights.” This is perhaps the first time that the expenses of a prime minister’s official travel have been covered by private citizens or businessmen.
#CorruptionByProxy :When friends of powerful political figures position themselves as middlemen. What was/is #IkramSehgal ‘s involvement with #KE ?Did #PMIK try to write off Billions outstanding dues of #KE to bail out a friend? The cost of cheap travels by friends? pic.twitter.com/W6WmGfao53— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) January 26, 2020
Khan’s decades-old close friend Imran Chaudhry has been an ardent donor towards his charitable causes, mainly the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital. Mr Chaudhry is a Dubai-based businessman and philanthropist, having investment in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
According to media reports, Mr Chaudhry played a pivotal role in supporting and promoting Princess Diana’s visit to Pakistan in 1996 and generating contributions for the cancer hospital.
The prime minister was also accompanied by Mr Chaudhry at a charity dinner hosted by Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla in London in 2013.
Pakistan is paying dearly for such spending of Mr Khan’s friends on his trips and rallies. Who knows spending a few thousands dollars how much cost Pakistan’s exchequer… may be in millions of dollars. But who cares. Pak Destiny