'Nawaz Sharif's 16 foreign visits in over a year cost Rs 294 million'

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's 16 foreign visits in over a year cost the cash-strapped nation over Rs 294 million with his trip to India last year accounting for Rs 4.3 million.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 04, 2015, 18:18 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's 16 foreign visits in over a year cost the cash-strapped nation over Rs 294 million with his trip to India last year accounting for Rs 4.3 million.

Dawn News reported that the total number of foreign visits by Sharif from July 2013 to December 2014 were 20.

However, Prime Minister's Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in a written reply to a question informed the Senate yesterday that the expenditure statements of Sharif's three visits in September 2014 and one in December are still awaited from the respective missions.

Between July 2013 and September 2014, Sharif undertook 16 foreign visits that cost the nation over Rs 294 million, he said.

The 20 visits included three each to the US, China and the UK, two to Turkey and one each to Thailand, the Hague, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Germany and Nepal.

The first official visit was to China which Aziz said provided an opportunity to the Prime Minister to meet the Chinese leadership. An expenditure of Rs 26.2 million was incurred on the visit in July 2013.

Sharif's week-long visit to New York in September 2013 was the most expensive as an amount of Rs 91.6 million was spent on it. Days after the visit, he again travelled to Washington and held a bilateral meeting with the US President.

This was the first official visit of a Pakistani premier to Washington in over a decade. The cost of the visit was Rs 35 million.

An amount of Rs 4.3 million was spent on Sharif's visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The minimum expenditure of Rs 1.4 million was incurred when Sharif undertook a day-long visit to Afghanistan in November 2013.

Sharif's second visit to China cost Rs 11.7 million while details of the expenditure on his third visit (November 7-9, 2014) has not been given by Pakistan's mission in Beijing.
The cost of his third visit to the US from September 24-27, 2014, stood at Rs 31.7 million.

The list of foreign tours undertaken by the Prime Minister does not find a mention of his visits to Saudi Arabia.