ISLAMABAD: It has been officially confirmed now that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has used a government helicopter fueled by the taxpayers money. On this helicopter, he was picked up from his luxurious Bani Gala residence.
Despite a strong denial by Khan about using an official helicopter for commuting, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has officially confirmed that the PTI chief had used the provincial government’s helicopter on at least four occasions during the year.
The certified information was provided by the Chief Minister’s House in response to an information request filed by this correspondent under the KP Right to Information Act 2013.According to documents, Khan used the MI-17 helicopter of the provincial government to fly from his Bani Gala residence to Bannu, Kohat, Mingora and Peshawar on at least four occasions.
Previously, the PTI chief had strongly denied the allegations of using the official helicopter to commute. Imran Khan had also publically reprimanded KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak for using an official helicopter for personal use and barred the CM from using it in future.
However, according to official information obtained by The News, the chief minister KP used the official helicopter on 11 occasions during the period between July 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014.
The official documents also revealed that not only Imran Khan but other PTI leaders including Neeamul Haq, Abrarul Haq and Azam Swati had also used a government helicopter for commuting despite not being part of the KP government.
The information provided by the Establishment Department of KP government revealed that Rs14.5 million had been spent on the two KP government helicopters which made 101 flights during the period.
The documents revealed that the PTI chairman used the government helicopters for 10.25 flying hours incurring a cost of Rs1.1 million on government exchequer at the rate of Rs105,836 per flying hour.
According to certified information, Imran Khan’s first helicopter ride came on July 6, 2014 from Bani Gala to Bannu and then all the way back to Bani Gala. The PTI chairman was also accompanied by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaiser and some cabinet members.
Imran Khan again travelled on a government helicopter from Peshawar to Bani Gala on July 22. He was accompanied by senior party leader Naeemul Haq, Shah Farman and Muhammad Atif.
On July 28th, 2014 Khan travelled from Bani Gala to Kohat and Peshawar on an MI-17 helicopter. Other party leaders including Naeemul Haq, Abrarul Haq, Sheram Khan and journalists Javed Chaudhry and Arshad Sharif were also flying with him.
Imran Khan’s fourth official helicopter ride came on August 7, 2014 just a week before the start of August 14 Azadi March when he flew to Matta, Mingora and Peshawar from his Bani Gala residence along with Pervez Khattak, Naeemul Haq, Atif Khan, Amin Aslam, Aun Chaudhry, Imran Ismail and Murad Saeed.
When contacted for the KP government’s version, senior cabinet member and former information minister Shah Farman said Imran Khan never used the government helicopter alone as he was accompanied by entitled persons on all the occasions.
When asked why the government helicopter was used to pick Imran Khan from his personal helipad in Bani Gala, he said it was a necessity as journalists were also gathered there. However, the documents revealed that the helicopter was used to pick the PTI chief from Bani Gala even when there were no journalists accompanying him.
Shah Farman said Khan is the only celebrity in the party and his visits help raise awareness on key issues in KP.“Imran Khan went to an IDPs camp in Bannu on the government helicopter along with journalists to apprise them of the real situation,” Farman, who is heading the Ministry of Public Health Engineering in provincial government, told The News.
He suggested that journalists should also investigate the use of government helicopters by the PPP and PML-N leadership. He said the KP government’s helicopter was also provided to the delegation accompanying Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif when he visited an IDPs camp in Bannu earlier this year.
Another minister in the KP government Muhammad Atif said that the PML-N governor in KP used helicopters more than the entire provincial government.He said Imran Khan had only barred the KP CM from using an official helicopter for his personal use. “There is no bar on official use of the helicopter by CM.”
The official documents also revealed that the KP government helicopters were also used by the Governor KP Sardar Mehtab Abbasi on at least 25 occasions. On some occasions, the governor was also accompanied by local leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, including Sabir Shah, Javed Abbasi and Sardar Fida.
The News Link