The recent trip of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul, Afghanistan cost the national exchequer, $11,000 including the security expenditures, reported Geo News on Saturday.
The media outlet quoted SAPM Shahzad Gill as saying that, PM Imran Khan has spent much less on his trip to Kabul as compared to his predecessors.
Gill said the expenditures of security staff sent to Kabul ahead of the arrival of PM Khan was also covered in the total cost $11,000 cost.
“Asif Zardari’s visit to Kabul in 2009 cost $44,000, whereas, former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s visit to Kabul in 2012 amounted to $51,000,” Gill said. Moreover, PML-N leader, Nawaz Sharif and thrice premier of Pakistan, had spent $58,000 in total. The reduced expenditure on foreign trips marks the policy of austerity.
Last year, PM Khan had saved the national exchequer more than Rs.100m on his trip to the USA. PM had deviated from years of the protocol to fly on a commercial Qatar Airways flight rather than a chartered flight and saved Rs.100m of public funds.
Read more: Afghan peace talks: Deadlock broken as PM Imran lands in Kabul
PM Khan marked his maiden yet a significant trip to Afghanistan on Thursday this week. On Friday, Khan took to his Twitter account and shed light on his official trip to Kabul. He asserted that his trip to Afghanistan marked Pakistan’s commitment to peace in the neighboring country.
“My visit to Kabul was another step towards conveying Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Afghanistan. I have never believed in military solutions which is why I always believed that in Afghanistan peace will be achieved through political dialogue,” said Khan in a tweet.
After the Afghans, we have the greatest stake in this peace as it will allow for connectivity & trade, bringing prosperity to both Afghans & Pakistanis. Our people in the tribal areas, who have suffered the ravages of the war in Afghanistan, will esp benefit from peace & trade.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 20, 2020
“After the Afghans, we have the greatest stake in this peace as it will allow for connectivity & trade, bringing prosperity to both Afghans & Pakistanis. Our people in the tribal areas, who have suffered the ravages of the war in Afghanistan, will esp benefit from peace & trade,” he asserted further.
Read more: “A Shared Vision”: The future of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations?
Imran Khan visits Kabul: unusual arrangements
Extraordinary arrangements were made in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul to invite Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who has embarked on his maiden official trip to Afghanistan on Thursday.
Pictures of PM Khan landing in Kabul went viral on social media. According to the details, acting foreign minister Hanif Atmar and President special envoy received PM Imran Khan and the delegation at Kabul International Airport. Khan is accompanied by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his adviser on commerce and investment, Abdul Razzak Dawood. DG ISI Gen Faiz Hameed is also a part of the Pakistani delegation.
PM Khan was given guard of honor upon his arrival in President House Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Labor and Public Affairs announced a public holiday in Kabul on Thursday ahead of the arrival of PM Khan on security grounds. Moreover, the streets of Kabul have been adorned with Pakistani flags in a bid to give a warm reception to the Pakistani delegation who is visiting the northwestern neighboring country at the invitation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.