Pakistan bans discretionary use of state funds, first-class air travel by government officials

Pakistan bans discretionary use of state funds, first-class air travel by government officials

By Sajjad HussainnnISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s new government has banned the discretionary use of state funds and first-class air travel by officials and leaders, including the president and the prime minister, as part of its austerity drive.nnThe decisions were made at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday, according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.nn”It has been decided that all the top government officials, including the president, prime minister, chief justice, senate chairman, speaker national assembly and the chief ministers will travel in club/business,” he told media.nnTo a question, Chaudhry said that the Army chief was not allowed first class travel and always used business class.nnHe said that the discretionary allocation of funds by the prime minister and the president and other officials was also stopped by the Cabinet.nnChaudhry claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif used Rs 51 billion discretionary funds in a year.nnThe prime minister also decided to stop using special plane for foreign visits or domestic travelling and use business class.nnAfter his victory in the July 25 general election, Khan decided not to use palatial Prime Minister House and instead live in a small portion of it that was previously used as the residence by the military secretary to the prime minister.nnKhan also decided to use only two vehicles and keep two servants. He refused to use elaborate official protocol.nnThe Cabinet took up a host of issues, including reverting to six-day working week, but decided to continue five-day working after some ministers opposed the idea because it may alienate government servants.nnThe five-day working was instituted in 2011 due to power shortages and save fuels. The Cabinet was briefed that five-day working had not affected the performance or output by the civil servants.nnWhile retaining two weekly off-days, the Cabinet changed the official office timings from 8-4 pm to 9-5 pm.nnThe meeting also decided to conduct audit of all the mega transport projects carried out in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the previous governments.nnSource: Press Trust of India

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