Imran Khan’s use of the government helicopter has come under fire again during the Senate session held on Friday. During this session, the Minister of State brought up the ex-premier’s excessive and expensive helicopter use. Reportedly, the commute cost Rs 432.94 million and a detailed account of expenses was presented in the session as well.
In rebuttal to this, it was pointed out that the money received at the Geneva conference was further loan repayments that Pakistan will have to pay soon. This adds to the already precarious debt crisis. Likewise, the issue of local elections and flour shortage was brought up as well as the state of the economy remains worrisome. In this regard, it is true that public expenses must be questioned but Khan’s helicopter issue is not new. It made rounds a few weeks ago when the PDM chief insinuated that the KP assembly passed legislation to save Imran Khan from a spending scandal. Similarly, it came under criticism several times during his tenure and the noconfidence motion as well.
While this is just one example, it is true that such extra expenses by heads of government must be kept in check. Especially in the volatile global and national economy, every expense using taxpayer money should be accounted for. However, this extra expense cannot be cited in relation to the ex-premier only. Approximately forty-eight political figures have used helicopters and owe money, according to a letter by the NAB in September of last year. Of the total Rs 90.68 million, Imran owed 60.39 million.
Wasteful public spending by government officials is a serious economic issue. Just a few days ago, Pakistan’s GDP growth forecast was cut in half by the World bank. There is also the age-old debtrepayment problem due to which Pakistan will remain in a vicious cycle of foreign debt. This is a tragic outlook for Pakistan and while not much can be done about previous expenses, transparent and accountable usage of public funds is the need of the time.