- Imran’s private jet to Saudi Arabia reportedly cost Rs10m
- The chartered jet is funded by private donors
LAHORE: The private jet that took Imran Khan, his wife and close aides to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah on Monday has incurred a cost of around Rs 10 million though who has paid for it has not yet been disclosed.
Media reports have claimed that the chartered aircraft to Saudi Arabia cost Rs800,000 per hour. With a total flight time of around 13 hours, the total cost adds up to more than Rs 10 million.
The plane first flew from Islamabad to Lahore to bring Imran’s family to the city, from where the group left for Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, Civil Aviation Authority said that the total duration of PTI chairman’s flight was 13 hours with an estimated expense of around Rs10 million. The expenses include the fare of the aircraft as well as fuel charges, etc.
Imran and his wife Bushra Maneka, along with PTI chief’s close aides Zulfi Bukhari and Aleem Khan, arrived in Saudi Arabia on June 11.
The group flew to Saudi Arabia from Rawalpindi’s Nur Khan airbase via a chartered flight.
FUNDED BY PRIVATE DONORS:
Speaking to Pakistan Today, PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhary confirmed that the jet has been chartered by the party through a private company based out of Karachi. He added that the plane has been chartered for two months for chairman’s use in the run-up to the elections. He also added that the cost for the plane was being funded by private donors.
“We have chartered the plane for Chairman Imran Khan’s use during the election campaign, just like we did the last time,” Fawad said.
When asked whether party funds were being used for the purpose, the spokesman denied it, adding that certain private donors were providing funds to pay for the plane. On the names of the donors, Fawad replied that he would have to seek permission from party high-ups to reveal the names of the donors.
Earlier, in a talk show on a private news channel, PTI leader Faisal Vawda said that the jet was chartered by the party for the entire election campaign.
Some reports had earlier claimed that PTI leader Aleem Khan, who accompanied Imran to Saudi Arabia for Umrah, was paying for the expenses incurred by the jet.
ZULFI’S NAME ON ECL:
Zulfiqar Bukhari, Imran’s close aide, was stopped from boarding the plane on Monday, causing a delay of around 3 hours. However, he was allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia when he sought permission from the ministry for travelling with a ‘one-time exemption’. As per a letter issued by the interior ministry, one-time “permission” was given to Bukhari for six days to perform Umrah.
Media reports say that the interior ministry had ordered the immigration authorities to let Bukhari board the flight after FIA officials had stopped him from as his name was placed on the Exit Control List.
Azam Khan, the caretaker minister for interior, also happens to be on the board of Imran Khan Foundation (IKF).
Azam, who took oath as caretaker interior minister on June 5, is listed as a board member of IKF, according to the website of the foundation.
Meanwhile, Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk on Wednesday sought a report from the Interior Ministry over the removal of Bukhari’s name from ECL in such an abrupt manner.
Reports stated that federal interior secretary removed Bukhari’s name from the blacklist.
On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif has said that Imran allegedly used public money for his visit, and asked Imran to ‘at least perform Umrah with your own money’.