Tuesday Aug 28, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Tuesday he had "used Google to calculate" the per kilometre cost of Prime Minister Imran Khan's commute between his official accommodation and private Bani Gala residence.
Chaudhry said so in response to some journalists' queries at a press conference he was addressing after the meeting of federal cabinet in Islamabad.
A journalist had asked him for his comment on whether Khan's use of a helicopter was part of "VIP culture".
After explaining that he had used Google to look for the cost of using a helicopter for the PM's commute, he suggested the newsmen look for it themselves using the search engine.
"Imran Khan is the prime minister; he is not just the chairman of the PTI. He is the prime minister of Pakistan," Chaudhry stressed and asked, rhetorically, if people would like the premier to travel in taxis.
During his appearance on a TV show a day earlier, Chaudhry had defended Khan's use of chopper, saying it only costed Rs55 per kilometre.
The statement has since drawn massive derision from users on social networking platforms, who have been sharing memes to mock the claim.
Meanwhile, an aviation expert said the prime minister's commute from PM House colony to Bani Gala costs around Rs370,000 per hour.
"The helicopter used by the prime minister is AW-139, which costs Rs370,900 per hour," aviation expert Major (retd) Mohammad Zaheer said during his appearance on Geo News' show Capital Talk on Tuesday.
"This cost is worked out for the entire process, from starting up the helicopter to switching it off."
He said the process of taking off from helipad and landing takes 30 to 40 minutes.
In response, PTI leader Usman Dar said his party's government was creating a perception that they have to move towards simplicity. Doing so, "we might be saving only Rs10 out of Rs100, but the message is very strong," he stated during the show.