President, Chief Justice and other officials not to travel first-class
In a major display of “change” under new government Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan led cabinet has imposed a ban on first-class air travel by the President, head of the government, Chief Justice, the Senate Chairman and National Assembly speaker and abolished discretionary funds of the PM, federal ministers and the law makers.
Prime Minister Khan has also decided not to use a special plane for foreign visits; instead he will travel in business class. However, PM will use official plane for domestic travelling.
According to Dawn, Fawad Chaudhary, the Information Minister, while addressing media persons at Pakistan Information Department (PID) in Islamabad on Friday, said that the second cabinet meeting after taking oath of office, decision to revise working hours in government institutions was also taken.
The cabinet rejected a proposal, prepared by interior ministry, for declaring only one official weekly holiday on Sunday and withdrawing the second weekly holiday on Saturday. The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The office working schedule has also been modified. While the span of working hours will remain same: eight hours — from 9am to 5pm instead previous timing: 8am-4pm.
Giving details of abolishing first-class travel of the top officials, the information minister said that only the president, prime minister, chief justice, Senate chairman, National Assembly speaker and chief ministers had the facility to travel in the first class of international flights. However, it has been decided that from now on they will be travelling in business/club class.
When asked if the army chief also fell in this category, Mr Chaudhry said the army chief was never allowed the first class and he used to travel in the business class.
Describing about the cabinet’s decision to abolish discretionary funds, the information minister said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had spent Rs51 billion government funds only in one year by exercising his “discretionary powers”.
Similarly, President Mamnoon Hussain also had distributed Rs 90 million on his own discretion. He said that of the Rs51bn funds, Mr Sharif gave away Rs30bn to his MNAs and Rs21bn was given or spent on different occasions.
Fawad Chaudhary said, “That was taxpayers’ money which was lavishly used by the ex-prime minister. Now the incumbent prime minister has ordered that he and any other government functionary will not spend even a single penny in the name of discretionary funds,” he added.
He said that from now on the government’s funds would be released only after the approval of parliament so that taxpayers’ money could be utilised in a better way.