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The cost of presidentís outing

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BAHAWALPUR: Contrary to the claims about austerity and financial prudence, the government once again stands exposed after revelation about Ďroyal tripí of President Mamnoon Hussain here on Oct 23-24.

Aviation sources said that two special flights (one of which was a C-130 aircraft) came here from Islamabad on Oct 23 to ensure a safe visit of the president and his family.

The C-130 aircraft transported a bullet-proof car from Islamabad to the local airport, which was followed by a flight carrying the president and members of his family. The head of the state presided over functions at Sadiq Public School (SPS) and Islamia University, Bahawalpur and also met his old friend in the city.

Dawn learnt the friend, who runs a business of petrol and CNG stations here, is an old buddy of President Mamnoon since they were in Saudi Arabia. The businessman invited the presidentís family to his residence and threw a lavish party.

Meanwhile, political and social circles have taken exception to the presidential visit which must have cost the kitty an arm and a leg.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insafís Farooq Azam Malik aptly hit out at the PML-N government for wasteful expenditure. With the operation of two special flights for the president, he said, the government stood exposed.

He said the president had no constitutional responsibilities and could reside in a small bungalow or a flat. Ironically, he said, the daily expenditure of the presidential residence was about Rs3 million.

Mr Malik, a former minister of state for railways, further deplored that the daily expenses of the prime ministerís house were Rs80 million. ďItís habits like these that will cost the rulers dearly,Ē he said.

He said a number of city roads were kept closed for traffic to facilitate the passage of the presidentís convoy.

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