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Tuesday Feb 27 2018

Pakistani missions abroad spend astonishing amount on healthcare

Reuters file photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani missions abroad spent Rs1.3 billion on the healthcare of government officials in the past 24 months, raising a serious question over the justification of such an expensive cost on overseas treatment at a time when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ development funds stood at Rs200 million for 2016-17.

The time period from 2016 to 2017 witnessed heavy burden in the shape of medical expenditures from 1, 070 diplomats and their families abroad, while the estimated expenditures remain around Rs12 billion for all 114 missions abroad in the current year.

An individual spent Rs1.2 million on his medical treatment in the past two years, where the total expenditure of healthcare incurred Rs681,628,102 in 2016-17 and Rs603,240,199 in 2015-16, revealed official documents Geo News gained access to.

The ministry’s top management, however, did not share details of individuals with the parliament.

Interestingly, around 1,023 of total 11,657 Pakistanis imprisoned abroad could not get out of jails after they failed to pay small amounts of fine imposed by the respective overseas courts, a senior diplomat said requesting anonymity.

He further told that these poor Pakistani skilled workers collectively need around Rs300 million as a fine to get back to their homeland.

Many months ago, the country’s top court was also requested to take suo-motu notice of the politicians, bureaucrats and their families seeking expensive medical treatment abroad at public expense. The treatment abroad of the VIPs on the recommendation of senior officials cost an estimated amount of Rs15 billion in the past three years, officials said.

According to official documents, Pakistani mission in New York (United Nations) spent Rs213 million on medical-care of its employees, Rs184 million in Washington and Rs42 million in New York on the medical treatment of employees in the past two years.

The documents submitted before the parliament recently, revealed that an estimated Rs22 million was spent on the treatment of ailing employees of the mission in Tokyo, Rs16 million in Singapore, Rs13 million in Riyadh and Rs6 million in Toronto.

The list below, prepared by ministry of foreign affairs, reveals more information on the healthcare expenditures.

The Hague: Rs11 million

Seoul: Rs6 million

Sydney: Rs3 million

Manila: Rs4 million

Ottawa: Rs12 million

Paris: Rs17 million

Oslo: Rs4 million

Nairobi: Rs9 million

Moscow: Rs20 million

Muscat: Rs4 million

Houston: Rs29 million

Istanbul: Rs4 million

Jakarta: Rs12 million

Jeddah: Rs21 million

Khartoum: Rs5 million

Kaula Lumpur: Rs16 million

London: Rs12 million

Los Angeles: Rs22 million

Hong Kong: Rs16 million

Guangzhou: Rs4 million

Hanoi:Rs11 million

Harare: Rs3 million

Dubai: Rs11 million

Doha: Rs3 million

Copenhagen: Rs3 billion

Canberra: Rs20 million

Buenos Aires: Rs3.3 million

Colombo: Rs11 million

Chicago: Rs16 million

Cairo: Rs5 million

Budapest: Rs3 million

Athens: Rs33 million

Bangkok: Rs11 million

Birmingham: Rs10 million

Beirut: Rs7 million

Beijing: Rs23 million

Brazil: Rs5 million

Brunei: Rs2 million

Abu Dhabi: Rs24 million

Abuja: Rs2.7 million

Almaty: Rs2 million

Amman: Rs7 million

Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Ministry Dr Muhammad Faisal, on ever-increasing hike in specialised treatments said, “these are routine medical expenses made as per rules.”