Imran Khan's maiden visit as Pakistan Prime Minister to the United States is turning out to be a quite an exhaustive attempt in cutting expenses. After reports that he wanted to ditch hotels and stay at the residence of Pakistan Ambassador in Washington, it is now being said that Imran will fly to the US in a Pakistan Air Force plane instead of a Pakistan International Airlines' plane.
Pakistani media has reported that Imran will board a 'small aircraft' of the Pakistan Air Force to fly to the US instead of a PIA plane that previous PMs have made use of. Scheduled to be in the US from July 21, Imran is reportedly looking at ways to cut expenses, especially because the country's economy is in an absolutely shambolic state.
Austerity has been one of the promises on which Imran was voted to power in August of 2018. He claims he inherited a massive debt from the previous government but has largely been accused of being unsuccessful in handling the economic affairs of the country. The cricketer-turned-politician was even forced to ask for donations from Pakistani nationals to build dams and has gone from pillar to post in a bid to get financial bailout packages.
Much hope has been put on the upcoming visit to the US, especially because ties between the two countries have nosedived in recent years. While there has been a conscious move within Pakistan to cosy up to China, the US continues to be of crucial significance. A trip to the country, however, could be quite a costly affair for even the PM of Pakistan.
The Pakistani rupee has fallen to record levels against the US dollar in recent months. One US Dollar is approximately 160 Pakistani rupee.
Perhaps reasons such as these had also made Imran consider staying at the Ambassador's residence in Washington. This, however, was frowned upon by US security agencies because these agencies are responsible for the safety and security of visiting dignitaries. It is also reported that local authorities in Washington were not too keen as travelling arrangements for Imran would have caused problems for regular commuters in the country's capital city.
Cost-cutting measures aside, Imran is hoping his visit to the US can help Pakistan repair strained ties with the country. He is expected to meet Donald Trump on July 22.