Two separate special planes flying out of Saudi Arabia recently. One, for the First Lady, who flew back to Pakistan. And the other, the Prime Minister, who flew out to the United States to address the UN General Assembly.
The symbolism of flying into the US on Saudi Arabian government aircraft is not going to be lost out on the Americans, regardless of whether the premiere intended as such – though it is suspected his Saudi benefactors are more than aware of the significance, and happy about it.
In his last visit to the US, the PM flew over by Qatar Airways, another decision which wouldn’t have ranked well on the symbolism register.
Around a decade ago, when Senator John Kerry came over to Pakistan, his special aircraft developed some trouble, making him delay the next leg of his tour to Kabul. Asif Zardari, the then President, offered him the use of his own special plane, but it was declined. Kerry didn’t want to be seen landing on Afghan soil on a Pakistan government plane and waited for his own plane to be fixed.
The government already has a special plane that can fly all the way over to the US. Could we stop with the “ostentatious austerity” already?