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Fewer trips of president saved Rs142m
January 18, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee has been informed that saving of Rs142.797 million was made due to less foreign tours of President Mamnoon Hussain as last year he paid only three official foreign trip to the United Kingdom, Turkey and China and for Umrah.

While the saving of Rs23.67 million was also made due to less visits of the prime minister as well, the size of the delegation was reduced as per existing policy of the government.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held its meeting under the chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, who presided it in the absence of its chairman Khursheed Shah in which audit paras relating to Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the financial year 2015-16 and Ministry of Interior for the financial year 2016-17 were examined.

While examining the appropriation accounts of the Foreign Ministry, the issue of foreign visits of the president and the prime minister come under discussion and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua told the committee that the considerable amount of Rs142.797 million was saved due to less foreign visits of the president as he only made three foreign visits to Britain, Turkey and for performing Umrah.

Qamar remarked in a lighter tone that “When you will not send him on foreign official visit then there would be a saving.”

“The president never came down from the staircase of the presidency,” scorned Sheikh Rohail Asghar of the ruling Pakistan Muslim-League Nawaz.

When somebody said that the president often goes to perform Umrah, Sheikh Rohail again took a jibe and said that the president even performs Umrah here in the country.

After the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the president’s role has been reduced to a symbolic head of the state and most of the responsibilities of the government are now performed by the prime minister.

Qamar ignored the remarks of Sheikh Rohail Asghar and settled the audit objection.

Parliament had approved a total budget of Rs2.15 billion for meeting the expenditures related to foreign visits of the prime minister and the president.

While examining the audit paras related to the interior ministry, the Auditor General of Pakistan revealed before the PAC that the National Data Registration Authority sustained a loss of Rs73.335 million due to procurement of Arms Licence booklets at higher rates.

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