News Analysis |
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has found himself in a fix with his absurd Helicopter fuel consumption claim. Following the social media ‘meme black hole’ that his statement was thrust into, the Information Minister on Tuesday, 28th of August said that he had “used Google to calculate” the per kilometer cost of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commute between his official accommodation and private Bani Gala residence. He also suggested the newsmen look for it themselves using the search engine.
The Minister put it on Google in response to some journalists’ queries at a press conference he was addressing after the meeting of federal cabinet in Islamabad. A journalist had enquired on whether the Prime Minister’s use of a helicopter depicted “VIP culture”.
“Imran Khan is the prime minister; he is not just the chairman of the PTI. He is the prime minister of Pakistan,” Chaudhry stressed and asked, rhetorically, if people would like the premier to travel in Uber cabs. During his appearance on a TV show a day earlier, Chaudhry had defended Khan’s use of chopper, saying it only cost Rs 55 per kilometer.
The statement has since drawn intense debate on the mainstream media. TV channels and experts have been debating on whether helicopter travel is, in fact, as economical. There are also comparisons being made with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the previous government, which also left no loose ends in defending the indefensible.
Meanwhile, the Social Media Meme hooligans are active on the issue. The intensity of this meme warpath can be judged by the fact that #Helicopter is trending number one on Twitter.
Social Media users can’t help but comment on how economical helicopter rides are over online cab services.
— Ihsan Naseem احسان نسیم (@ihsannaseem1) August 28, 2018
Some people claim they have found the “Rickshaw-copter”
The best mileage helicopter has also been discovered.
#Good #news. Found the #helicopter which can give the #mileage of 55 Rupees per Km. #Uber and #Careem are in shock. #TwitterMianInfoOnline #FacebookMianInfoOnline #InstagramMian_Info Fallow us pic.twitter.com/8SxydUsa6i
— MiAn Muzzamil (@MuzzamilOnline) August 28, 2018
The Riasat-e-Medina copter is the winner though.
That Rs 55 per Km #Helicopter is expensive AF, @ImranKhanPTI must get this dude aboard, give him #Transport ministry or something and use this for 70 km in one litre.#CD70 #MadniTyara #Pakistan #PTI #ImranKhan #Heli #Banigala pic.twitter.com/ildHuGjrLM
— Dr Faraz Chaudry (@iDrFaraz) August 28, 2018
Some believe traveling through helicopters will be the new trend.
— Rafaqat (@Rafaqat9191) August 28, 2018
Why the helicopter though?
Keeping the ‘non-serious’ statement regarding the helicopter mileage aside, it is important to consider the fact that PM Imran Khan is facing a serious life threat. Sources quoting Intelligence and security agencies stated that the life of Imran Khan is in serious danger. Recently, Hamid Mir, a renowned journalist, and an anchorperson stated that at least 9 Afghan nationals were apprehended from around Imran Khan’s Banni Gala residence in the past several weeks.
The Prime Minister security is also concerned about the gravity of threats PM Khan is facing and have advised him to use ‘helicopters’ to commute since it is considered the ‘safest’ in the present circumstances.
Analysts also believe that Imran Khan’s anti-corruption drive and his pledge to formulate an independent foreign policy have earned him enemies both inside and outside Pakistan. Hence, they believe, that Imran Khan must heed to the advice of his security and national intelligence agencies and take ‘precautions’ while commuting.
Fawad Chaudary’s blunder?
Fawad Chaudhry received flak after he gave a pretty ‘non-serious’ estimate of the fuel charges of the helicopter which PM used while traveling between PM House and his private residence in Bani Gala. Hafsa Zeeshan, a communication expert and a lecturer at Air University, while talking to GVS stated that it was very ‘unprofessional’ of Mr. Fawad to give such a statement. And that too at a time when the incumbent government is already under pressure to fulfill its promises. “Information Ministry is always under the telescope of media and public and any non-serious statement can be interpreted in a thousand ways, exacerbating problems for the government.”
There is no denying that PM Khan is facing serious life threats, Information Minister should have rather issued a credible, justifiable statement in a professional manner to appease nation.