Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, days after launching an austerity drive, is being criticised for using a helicopter to commute to work daily, from his residence in Bani Gala to the prime minister’s Secretariat.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry came to Imran’s rescue when he told local media that Khan’s helicopter rides are a cost-effective option as it cost just Rs 50-55 per kilometer. He stated that he had used “used Google to calculate” the costs, reported Geo TV. He also claimed that this was not “VIP culture”.
As expected, his statement left people on Twitter in Pakistan trolling Chaudhary.
Newly Designed #helicopters Which Costs Only Rs 55/KM in #NayaPakistan #helicopter #ItsFunToBeYoung #ImranKhan #haha #lol #FunnyPost #FunPost #FawadChaudhry #imrankhanPTI #AmirLiaquat #AmirLiaqat #PTI #Lahore #Quetta #balochistan #Dubai #USA #UAE #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/vBvQQPgl2C
— JaHaN ZaiB【ツ】 (@zEsHan_xafar) August 29, 2018
However, according to BBC, Chaudhary does not have the facts right. The fuel for the prime minister’s helicopter, an Agusta Westland AW139, costs 1,600 Pakistani rupees ($23/£17) per kilmetre, higher than the 55 rupees, Chaudhry claimed. This is excluding other costs associated with running a helicopter.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarian Ali Muhammad Khan also came to the prime minister’s rescue, listing the benefits of using the helicopter. He tweeted that considering that five to seven vehicles are required for the PM’s security, using one helicopter for three minutes ends up being cheaper.
Those unduly criticising PM @ImranKhanPTI for the use of Helicopter from PMhouse2Banygala must know that 1.Using Heli for 3min Fly is more CHEAPERfuel consumption wise considering at leat 5to7 vehicles of necessary Security to be used instead 2. More SAFE 3. No Traffic BLOCKAGE — Ali Muhammad Khan (@Ali_MuhammadPTI) August 26, 2018
Dawn News had earlier reported that the ruling party also faced criticism after photographs of Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar travelling with his family on a private jet emerged on social media.
As part of the austerity measures, the government has banned first-class air travel for top officials of the country. Even the President is not allowed to go for first-class air travel.