Zardari, Nawaz spent Rs 3.26 billion on lavish foreign trips

Islamabad: The Federal Cabinet was informed on Tuesday that Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif had spent Rs 3.26 billion during their foreign visits as president and prime minister in nine years.

Asif Zardari spent Rs 1.42 billion on his 134 foreign tours in five years (2008-2013) and Nawaz Sharif Rs 1.84 billion during his four-year tenure as prime minister (PM) (2013-17), Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said while briefing media persons about decisions taken by the cabinet meeting.

He said the government had already informed the people about the corruption done by the opposition while in power during the past 10 years.

Over Rs 24,000 billion loans were taken from the foreign countries, which spoke volumes about their opulence.

The minister said it was also revealed during the cabinet meeting that Asif Zardari had spent 257 days abroad during his trips while he was also accompanied by some 3,227 persons.

Shafqat Mehmood said Zardari had wasted around Rs 20 million on the pretext of tips and Rs 45 million on gifts.

He had visited Dubai 51 times as president, out of which 48 were private visits and spent Rs 100 million.

On 17 visits of Asif Zardari to the United Kingdom, Rs 320 million was spent, he added.

The minister said Nawaz Sharif had spent 262 days in foreign countries during his four-year term as prime minister.

He wasted Rs 30 million on tips and Rs 60 million on gifts.

He had undertaken 24 visits of London, out of which 20 were of private nature, and spent Rs 230 million from the public exchequer, Shafqat added.

He said other prime ministers during the tenures of both parties, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N, and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of the PPP had also plundered the national wealth through their foreign trips.

On the contrary, Shafqat Mehmood said, Prime Minister Imran Khan during his coming visit to the United States would stay at the house of Pakistani ambassador and only a few persons, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, would accompany him.

The personal staff of the prime minister would stay in a three-star hotel in the US.

AlamulKhabar Pakistan