Given he promised austerity after being elected, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is drawing flak for his everyday commute to work in a helicopter. Opponents have questioned how this conforms with his pledge to end VIP culture in the country, and austerity measures implemented by his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI).
While some argued it may have been done as a security measure, a minister claimed the chopper ride is “cheaper”, and that the cost of the fuel per helicopter ride was just Rs 55 per kilometre.
Speaking at a press conference, Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudry claimed that the cost is Rs 50-Rs 55 and then added that he sourced his information “from Google”. It sparked a laugh riot on Twitter with many sarcastically trolling the minister, while others said that if it was that cheap it should be made available to the general public as well since they could all afford it.
Seeing the #helicopter trend on Twitter, Pakistani taxi service Careem also got in on the fun by sharing a photo of their ‘flight service’.
Some verified Chaudry’s claim about how much the daily ride cost. A Dawn report quoted local aviation experts as saying that the “ballpark figure is somewhere between Rs 200,000 and Rs 300,000.” BBC Urdu in a report said “the fuel for the prime minister’s helicopter, an Agusta Westland AW139, costs 1,600 Rupees per km”. Basically not even close to Rs 55.
Coming to Khan’s rescue, another senior PTI leader Naeemul Haq tweeted on Thursday that the new PM’s aim was that “people should not be troubled when he travels”. Haq added that Khan wanted to cut down on the money spent on a motorcade.
The new prime minister has wisely stayed mum on the matter so far.
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