Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 12 foreign tours to three continents cost a total of $680,000 – less than half of the expenditures incurred on one visit each by former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to New York.
Imran continued his austerity policy during the first three years in power, cutting budget of his office and official residence by about 40%, according to the figures shared by the Prime Minister’s Office.
In total, Imran went abroad 26 times, which cost about Rs176 million or $1.1 million at current exchange rate. But the amount is still less than the expenditures on one visit of Zardari ($1.1 million) to New York, nine years ago and slightly higher than $901,250 on Nawaz’s one visit to the same city in 2016.
Some foreign destinations are not common among the three heads of the mainstream political parties, which have been excluded from this analysis. The data available of 12 trips to Asia, Europe and America by Prime Minister Imran showed the expenditures of $680,115 or Rs108 million.
Covering only four destinations, out of these 12, by Zardari, the expenses amounted to $2.1 million or Rs318 million. Former prime minister Nawaz had visited 10 of these places, which cost $4.5 million or Rs712 million. The total expenditures on Nawaz’s all foreign trips were Rs1.8 billion
However, the savings that Imran has been making by discouraging unnecessary expenditures on foreign trips and allowing only minimum expenditures are being lost by one wrong decision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).