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Tuesday August 16, 2022

Cabinet Div asked to give details of copter’s use during AJK PM election

June 02, 2022
A citizen sought the Cabinet Division to give details of the helicopter’s use by Imran Khan during the AJK PM elections. Photo: Twitter
A citizen sought the Cabinet Division to give details of the helicopter’s use by Imran Khan during the AJK PM elections. Photo: Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan is notorious for abusing helicopters. He faced a NAB inquiry for misusing two copters of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. He was mocked for home-to-work commute of 15 kms by helicopter. Shehbaz Sharif government unveiled the ridiculous amount of expenses incurred on Imran’s commuting from Banigala House to Prime Minister’s House.

But now, he is being accused of misusing the prime ministerial helicopter for transporting his party’s lawmakers from Azad Jammuand Kashmir after the election there in July last year.

The Pakistan Information Commission has ordered making public the information relating to the questionable use of the helicopter by Imran Khan last year with reference to the pick and drop service to the lawmakers airlifted from the AJK for an interview in Islamabad for the position of AJK PM.

The PIC has ruled this in connection with a complaint of a citizen who had asked for the information using the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 (commonly known as RTI law). Imran Khan had interviewed several lawmakers of the AJK Assembly in order to finalise a candidate for the top position. For more than a week, the prime minister’s helicopter was used to fly lawmakers from different parts of the AJK to Islamabad.

Rana Abrar Khalid, a citizen, dispatched an application to the Cabinet Division in December 2021, asking about the details in this respect. He asked in what capacity Imran Khan authorized the use of helicopter which was reserved for the PM only. Since it couldn’t be used for the transportation of unauthorized individuals, the applicant asked whether Imran paid the bill from his own pocket or not. He further inquired about the list of passengers of every flight and how many times the helicopter was used during that time. The Cabinet Division refused to share the information on the grounds that it was related to VVIPs hence sensitive. The officer appeared before the PIC on behalf of the Cabinet Division and went on to claim that Islamabad High Court had already granted a stay on a similar nature case.

However, upon repeated reminders of the PIC, he could not present the concerned document. Imran Khan has long faced criticism of abuse of helicopter. In 2018, there was a NAB inquiry against him for his alleged misuse of helicopter. According to the complaint, he used two helicopters of the KP government, Mi-17 and Ecureuil, for 74 hours. The KP government, however, denied that it was used for private purposes. The NAB then said the PTI should have paid Rs11.1 million but official documents suggested that only Rs2.1 million was paid which means Rs28,000 per hour.

After becoming the PM, he was mocked for home-to-work commute of 15 kms by helicopter. This choice of his transportation then came under criticism. Speaking at a press conference, his information minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed that he used it because he considered it an inexpensive option as it cost, he said using his Google knowledge, only Rs55.

That claim was busted when Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government succeeded him and information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed that the government had incurred Rs984.35 million expenses. According to the documents shared with the media, the travelling expenses amounted to Rs472.36 million while maintenance cost more than the travel, Rs511.995 million.

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