Taxpayer’s money used for lavish personal expenses & security: Muraad Saeed

Federal Minister for Communications, Murad Saeed, highlighted the scores of lavish personal expenses undertaken by former President Asif Ali Zardari, and former Prime Ministers Yousaf Raza Gillani, Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from the taxpayer’s money.

taxpayer's

News Desk |

On Tuesday, a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, announced its decision to recover the nation’s wealth which former rulers used for their own “personal objectives” and take strict action against the looters and plunderers.

Speaking at a press conference after the cabinet session, Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, Special Assistant to PM on Information Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, and Adviser to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam shed light on the accounts of the personal expenses and lavish arrangements enjoyed by the former leaders on the expense of the taxpayers.

Federal Minister Murad Saeed noted that while the former rulers were indulged in their personal expenses, the problems of the country deteriorated alarmingly. He noted that malnutrition and lack of clean drinking water in Sindh, particularly Thar, is resulting in unaccountable deaths.

The Federal Minister noted that the Pakistani taxpayer’s money was used to pay for Rs245 million worth of fencing work at Nawaz Sharif’s residence, while the installation of security cameras cost Rs60.6 million. 

Murad Saeed said, “A report on Thar submitted to the Supreme Court reveals that every year more than 500 children die because of hunger and poverty. The constituency of the Chief Minister is struggling with a grave lack of healthcare, and it is hard to find an ambulance to transport the injured to a hospital in the instance of a blast.”

Personal Expenses from Taxpayer’s Money

Federal Minister Murad Saeed noted that as we discuss the personal expenses by former President Zardari and former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, it is also pertinent to note that Sindh remains the poorest province struggling with food and water scarcity, and widespread poverty. As per the data compiled by the State Bank of the Pakistan and the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Sindh ranks as the poorest province, followed by South Punjab.

Murad Saeed said, “Yousaf Raza Gillani, aside from the PM Office, had five camp offices and three of these were in Lahore, while two were in Multan. A total of Rs245 million of the nation’s wealth were used for the security of these offices.”

Moving towards the expenses of former president Asif Ali Zardari, Murad noted, “Zardari spent Rs3.164 billion from the nation’s wealth for his security and entertainment purposes, and this money was spent on him while he was not even the president of the country.”

Read more: Imran lambasts Nawaz Sharif for using taxpayers funds for own entourage

Murad Saeed highlighted that in 2015, Zardari had 246 cars for security, in 2016, he fled from the country, and in 2017 he had 164 cars, and in 2018 he had 158. Moreover, more than 650 security personnel were assigned for his protection, even before he was jailed in 2019.

The Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed noted that in 2015, Nawaz Sharif’s official visit to the US cost the national exchequer $460,000, while the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan will only cost the national treasury a mere $60,000.

He added, “In 2016, Nawaz received a medical treatment in London, on which he spent 327,000 pounds from the taxpayer’s money, and a special PIA plane was used for his trip.”

After former premier Nawaz Sharif was declared corrupt and dishonest by the Supreme Court, Murad noted that his brother, former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif stepped in and made the residence, Jati Umra, his camp office. “Then it was decided that Raiwind will be declared a camp office, and the public will now have to bear the expenses of a man who has been declared corrupt by the Supreme Court.”

The Federal Minister noted that the Pakistani taxpayer’s money was used to pay for Rs245 million worth of fencing work at Nawaz Sharif’s residence, while the installation of security cameras cost Rs60.6 million.

Today, there are no camp offices and no lavish personal expenses made from the taxpayer’s money. Public funds will be used for public welfare, and the billions looted by former rulers will also be recovered.

Highlighting Shehbaz Sharif’s expenses, Murad Saeed noted, “He used Rs8.7269 billion from the Pakistani taxpayer’s money for his personal security, and separate security squads were erected under the names of Hamza Shehbaz, Salman Shehbaz and the wives, to provide personal security for all the Sharif family members.”

The Federal Minister highlighted that Shehbaz Sharif spent Rs1.3 billion on purchasing a new helicopter, and when his brother, former premier Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified, he spent billions of rupees from the taxpayer’s money on “the security of a dishonest and corrupt politician.”

Measures by PTI Government

Comparing the security and travel expenses of the Punjab Chief Minister under Usman Buzdar, Muraad noted that the security expenses have been reduced by 86%, while travel expenses were reduced by 60% since last year.

Muraad Saeed said, “Today, there are no camp offices and no lavish personal expenses made from the taxpayer’s money. Public funds will be used for public welfare, and the billions looted by former rulers will also be recovered.”

Read more: Confess & seek forgiveness for corruption, Firdous tells Shehbaz

The Special Assistant to PM on Information, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, noted that the Prime Minister has taken notice of the sudden increments in the prices of flour and roti, and the provincial chief secretaries have been advised to provide a detailed report on the prices and availability of wheat, roti and other grains.

Dr. Firdous added that the premier has also established a high-level committee to conduct detailed examinations of the international court’s verdict and penalty leveled against Pakistan in the Reko Diq case.

She added that the federal cabinet also conducted a detailed discussion and briefing on the controversial report published by Daily Mail to scrutinize over Sharif’s expenses and money laundering credentials.

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