Pak's new PM to get a helipad at his house



Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has landed in a controversy after it was reported that a helipad will be built at his private residence in Punjab province, 40 kms from here.

Police in Rawalpindi district have proposed the construction of a helipad near Ashraf's home in Sungral village of Gujar Khan area on the outskirts of Islamabad, the Dawn quoted its sources as saying.

The move is aimed at avoiding "inconvenience during VVIP security duty", the report said.

However, detractors of the Pakistan People's Party-led government have criticised the move in the light of the country's economic woes.

A leader of the main opposition PML-N said Ashraf was enjoying all the perks of being a PM while ignoring the country's economic problems.

Some police officers defended the move, saying helipads had been added to private residences of other VVIPs following attacks on politicians by the Taliban and other militant groups.

The helipad will be located next to the residential portion of Ashraf's house and police personnel from the wireless wing would be deployed there, the report said.

Ashraf's house, spread over 18 kanals of land, is located over 45 km from Rawalpindi.

If a VVIP like Ashraf travels by road to Sungral, security agencies need to cover 360 points along the route, the report said.

An unnamed senior police officer said deployment of security personnel on the route would be difficult in view of the distance between the Prime Minister's House Islamabad and Ashraf's private residence.

"Therefore, it has been proposed that a helipad should be built there on an urgent basis to avoid inconvenience," the officer said.

After assuming office last week, Ashraf said his government's first priority would be to address crippling power cuts and economic problems.

Ashraf became the premier after the Supreme Court last week dismissed his predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, following his conviction of contempt for refusing to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

PTI