• Wants two security officials with ministers, VIPs
• Fawad claims ministers’ security already thin
• Imran resolves to leave clean, green Pakistan for future generations
• Asks Erra to complete ongoing projects
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took serious notice of the extraordinary protocol accorded to federal cabinet members and VIPs and ordered curtailing it to avoid public inconvenience.
A source in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) told Dawn that PM Khan had directed that security staff of ministers and other VIPs should be reduced to two officials.
According to media reports, the prime minister took the action after a video of the security detail of Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib went viral on social media.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while talking Dawn said he did not know why the prime minister took notice.
The minister was of the view that protocol and security of federal ministers was already quite thin.
The source said Prime Minister Khan was also quite concerned about the heavy security protocol of chief ministers and governors.
It has been learnt that Mr Khan had once questioned the security protocol of President Arif Alvi when the latter arrived at the Parliament House and was received by him.
A senior official of the PMO said Prime Minister Khan usually spoke for a few minutes before the start of the federal cabinet meeting, and in the last meeting on Tuesday, he talked about VIP protocol and security being extended to federal ministers.
He quoted the prime minister as saying “the security and protocol of ministers must be curtailed and reassessed according to requirement”.
The prime minister had also announced last Tuesday that he would no longer go to any private function with protocol and security “to save taxpayers’ money and avoid inconvenience to the public”.
In a tweet, Mr Khan said he was also reviewing the protocol and security available to ministers, governors and chief ministers belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and “decide how we can minimise expenditure and end public inconvenience”.
He said the federal cabinet would come up with a comprehensive policy in this regard next week.
“We will put an end to colonial legacy of pomp and glory used to overwhelm people,” the prime minister wrote.
Before coming to power, Imran Khan routinely opposed VIP movements and security protocols, and launched a campaign to adopt austerity and lead a simple lifestyle after being elected the prime minister.
It may be mentioned here that the prime minister had paid a surprise visit to several public places in Islamabad in May “without any security and protocol”.
Pictures and videos shared by the Prime Minister’s Office and lawmakers had shown Mr Khan driving himself to different areas and talking to people. He had also inspected business activities, implementation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures and development works during the visit. Last month, he inspected the handcart (vendors) market recently set up in the capital’s G-10 sector.
Driving his car, the prime minister arrived at the market without any protocol and was warmly welcomed by bystanders, handcart owners, residents and shopkeepers.
A month after Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in 2018, a total of 61 luxury and surplus vehicles and eight buffaloes belonging to Prime Minister’s House were auctioned.
The auctions were part of the premier’s austerity drive through which he planned to cut down his government’s expenditures, which he believed would motivate the nation to follow suit at a time of economic hardship.
Billion tree tsunami
Prime Minister Khan expressed his strong resolve to leave “a clean and green Pakistan for future generations” of the country.
He posted a video clip of Matta, Swat, on his twitter handle, saying that barren hills in the area were turning green owing to the Billion Tree Tsunami campaign in the province.
“Matta in Swat – Barren hills turning green. Incredible results from our Billion Tree Tsunami campaign in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Insha Allah, we will leave a clean and green Pakistan for future generations,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday directed the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) to complete ongoing projects on a fast-track basis to facilitate people.
He was presiding over a meeting held to review the authority’s ongoing projects, the PM Office’s media wing said in a press release.
The prime minister was informed that since its inception in 2006, Erra had so far completed 75 per cent of its total development portfolios of 14,704 projects, whereas 14pc were currently under construction.
These under-construction projects included 885 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1,214 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2021