Senate question hour: Rs 63m spent on foreign tours in two years
ISLAMABAD: Foreign tours by Pakistan Foreign Ministry officials, including Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri and Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar, cost Rs 63.158 million over the last two years, according to record placed in the Senate library.
Mr Kasuri presented the record in reply to a question by Senator Muhammad Ismial Buledi who wanted to know the names and designations of all official who toured abroad on national exchequer.
Mr Khokhar tops the list of 137 officials who went aboard 31 times while Mr Kasuri flew abroad 30 times. Others included in the list were Masood Khan, former Foreign Office spokesman, Abbas Jillani, incumbent spokesman, Ros Masood, legal adviser, Tariq Usman Haider and Athar Massod, additional secretaries, Sanaullah and Brig Rafiuz Zaman, director generals, Asad Majeed Khan, Diyar Khan and Farrukh Iqbal, section officers, Tehmina Janjua, assistant director, Shair Bahadur Khan, Lt Col Musarrat Naeem, director, and Sarshar Ahmed Khan.
The minister further stated that there were 751 officials serving in the Foreign Office in BPS 11 to 16, of which 309 were assistants, 24 communication assistants, 116 steno typists and 86 cypher assistants, 192 stenographers and 24 superintendents. Senator Azam Swati, during the Question Hour, challenged the authenticity of figures of substandard pesticides found during raids in January and March 2005. Officials collected 12 samples in the NWFP found none spurious.
“These figures show that either the people examining the samples are not capable or are not performing their duty honestly. These figures are hard to believe as even in the developed countries such genuine pesticides cannot be found,” Swati said. Skindar Hayat Bosan, agriculture and livestock minister, agreed to the senator’s stance, saying that more efforts were needed to be put in to check spurious pesticides. staff report