Islamabad: Despite an official announcement that the Pakistan Premier would vacate the Prime Minister's House and move to a smaller residence to observe simplicity, Yousuf Raza Gilani is now "changing his mind".
According to sources, Gilani is unlikely to leave the premises, after the idea was opposed by a majority of cabinet members and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentarians, reports The Express Tribune.
Sources said the cabinet members are of the view that the PM's House belongs to the nation and is also a symbol of the nation’s pride; thus, it should not be used for any other purpose.
However, keeping its word to establish an institute of advanced studies at the PM House, the government is now considering using part of the 63-acre vacant land to build a state-of-the-art institute, they added.
"The Prime Minister has also announced giving Rs 1 billion to build the institute," said Senator Sughra Imam of the PPP.
Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance also recommended that the Premier not vacate the house. It also turned down a proposal by Senator Ilyas Bilour of the Awami National Party that instead of vacating the residence, the Premier should cut its budget by Rs 200 million and allocate it to resolving the energy crisis.
However, Senator Humayun Khan Mandokhel, an independent senator from Balochistan, said the nation should not allow its leaders to live lavish lives at taxpayers' expense anymore.
"If Germany's Chancellor and the UK's Prime Minister can reside in small flats, why can't Pakistan's Prime Minister, the leader of a poor nation, do the same?" he said.
First Published: Friday, June 08, 2012, 14:33