By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz spent over one billion rupees on 47 foreign visits during 2004-07. He had also falsely claimed after his visit to Saudi Arabia that he had paid the expenses from his own pocket. The Foreign Office revealed this in the National Assembly on Monday.
Official documents of the Foreign Office also revealed that former president Pervez Musharraf spent Rs 227 million during his visit to launch his book ‘In the Line of Fire’. Shaukat Aziz spent Rs 18.7 million in his 2004 visit to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra. There were 45 members in his entourage. Though he had claimed having paid the amount from his own pocket, the sum was paid by the state.
The data have been released by the FO at a time when people are talking about President Zardari’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra along with an entourage of over 200 people.
The FO confirmed during the question-answer session that as prime minister during September 2004 to November 2007, Shaukat Aziz visited 47 countries, some of them more than once.
The nation paid a sum of Rs 1.012 billion for these visits. The documents revealed that he took a total of 2,120 politicians, ministers, civil and military officials along with him on these visits.
Mrs Rukhsana Shaukat Aziz also accompanied him on almost every trip. The NA was recently told that General Pervez Musharraf’s foreign trips in the same period of time had cost Rs 1.4 billion.
So, the former president and the former prime minister spent a total of Rs 2.5 billion on their foreign visits in three years. The maximum amount spent by Shaukat Aziz on a single foreign trip was when he went to the US where he spent Rs 92 million. Totally, he undertook three official trips to the US and spent a sum of Rs 211 million.
Following are the details of expenses on his foreign tours:
Saudi Arabia — Rs 18.7 million (45-member entourage); Tajikistan — Rs 7.25 million (32); Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh — Rs 16.58m (61); UAE Rs 0.07 million (37); Egypt ٌRs 10.7 million (31); Sri Lanka, Maldives, India Rs 14.68m (75); China — Rs 24.57m (81)
Switzerland, Brussels — Rs 40.88m (54); Saudi Arabia — Rs 43.52m (43); Iran — Rs 22.26m (57); Oman — Rs 6.36m (42); Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore — Rs 42.2m (79); Turkey — Rs 28.54m (57); Kazakhstan – Rs 13.62m (35); Germany and Italy — Rs 41.8m (65); Afghanistan — Rs 4.07m (59); Saudi Arabia — Rs 6.82m (34); Japan and Hong Kong — Rs 48.3m (61); Korea and Malaysia — Rs 36.3m (70); Russian Federation — Rs 24.8m (30); Bangladesh — Rs 7.73m (35); Malta — Rs 28.78m (31)
USA Rs 62.59m (79); UAE — Rs 2.09m, UK and Jordan — Rs 42.71m (53); USA, Spain — Rs 56.8m (38); Indonesia — Rs 32.9m (31); Azerbaijan — Rs 1.05m (280); Greece, Morocco, Libya and Egypt — Rs 50.04m (57); Geneva — Rs 9.55m (25); Kuwait — Rs 0.32m, Malaysia Rs 1.3m (24); Norway, UK and Turkey — Rs 30.7m (26); Tajikistan — Rs 5.87m (40); Afghanistan — Rs 0.098m (56); USA/Canada — Rs 92.14m (47); Yemen, Saudi Arabia Rs 15.2 million (45); Turkemanistan — Rs 0.17m (12)
Afghanistan – Rs 1.50m (54); Switzerland and Brussels — Rs 46.80m (25); Hong Kong and Singapore — Rs 13.56m (36); China — Rs 26.20m (76); Uzbekistan — Rs 4.54m (51); India Rs 8.72m (63); Jordan Rs 6.44m (83); Malaysia — Rs 3.72m; Afghanistan — Rs 0.55m (90); Netherlands — Rs 8.41m (44); Afghanistan — Rs 0.37m (35); Uzbekistan – Rs 0.30m (41).