Promises of austerity (never asked for in the first place) fell apart when the prime minister started moving about in his official helicopter. In order to justify it, the official spin machine gave the (perfectly reasonable for any prime minister) defence that he needed security, hence the chopper.
Then why was his detailed Karachi-visit itinerary leaked to the social media? It only fell slightly short of giving away when the man was going to use the men’s room.
It almost made it easy for an assassin to do his job, sort of like some “mission screen” in a video game.
“It takes a fortune to keep Gandhi poor.”
Sarojini Naidu’s timeless takedown of the Mahatma’s (costly) decision to travel economy class continues to describe such situations aptly.
First, there is the prime minister himself, who doesn’t live at the PM House (he does, claims Saleem Safi, only the MS residence) but flies from Bani Gala on chopper (which has a huge quantum of security officials now) and then there is the PM’s personal residence at Zaman Park, Lahore, which has its own, large security detail.
Then, there is the President. Whenever any politician is given a position, there is a trend in the country to go to one’s own personal constituency in style. And style there was plenty of, in Dr Alvi’s large entourage of vehicles during his visit to Karachi. Any and all insecurities about dentists not being real doctors were attempted to be cemented over with that huge motorcade.
He has also said he won’t live in the Presidency either. So he shifted to the parliament hostel, where the authorities said it was way too big a hassle to coordinate his presidential activities.
So he’s at the Punjab House these days, where it is still way too inconvenient to house him, but he won’t shift to the Presidency either.
Living or not living in one’s official houses is a non-issue but this is the bed the PTI has made for itself and this is where it will sleep.