RAWALPINDI: Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar has almost used helicopter on every third day in last year, said official figures obtained through Right to Information.
According to document provided by Chief Minister Office on RTI request, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took 164 flights from August 2018 to November 2019 which cost national exchequer an amount of 8.5 million. During these flights, CM used helicopters for total 119.30 hours. The average cost each flight is 52 thousand.
The document shows that during these visits, CM was accompanied by more than 643 party leaders, workers and government servant. So, every passenger cost 13 thousand rupees to national exchequer.
The data further shows that CM Buzdar has made 55 flights collectively in April and May 2019, with total 96 passengers.
In April 2019, the Punjab chief minister made 28 trips on his official helicopter of which five were made to Taunsa. In May 2019, he made 27 visits, eight in July, 13 in August, 10 in September, 14 in October, and 11 in November of which two trips were made to DG Khan.
Usman Buzdar have also made more than 10 local flights within the Lahore. The chief minister’s helicopter was also used several times to go to the Governor’s House in Lahore from the CM’s Secretariat, which is located hardly one kilometre away.
In Oct 2019, CM’s helicopter has made five local flights within Lahore. Similarly, on Oct 28, 2019 CM used helicopter to went to Governor House to complete a VIP mission, documents stated.
He also made several visits to Pakpattan on board his official helicopter during this period.
The CM House has refused to provide information on RTI request filed by this correspondent. But after the intervention of the Punjab Information Commission, the CM House released the information.
It is pertinent to mention that similar information requests were also filed by this correspondent to the Prime Minister (PM) and Chief Minister of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offices, but they did not respond yet, and the appeals against these are pending in the respective information commission.
The PM Office has refused to share the information and claimed that it is exempted under Sub-section 7(e) of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017.
Section 7 of RAI Act 2017 is about the exclusion of certain record and its sub-section (e) stated, record relating to defence forces, defence installations or connected therewith and ancillary to defence and national security excluding all commercial and welfare activities is exempted from disclosure.