Islamabad: Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan today moved into a modest three-bedroom house of his military secretary along with two servants, a day after announcing that he would not be staying in the sprawling PM House which has a staff of 524, keeping his pledge to cut down the expenditure of the cash-strapped government.
Khan, announcing a series of austerity measures to cut down the expenditure during his maiden address to the nation late last night, said that he wanted to live in his own house in Banigala “but was told by security agencies that my life was under threat which is why I am living here”. Khan today moved to the official residence of the military secretary which he has announced to use as the PM House, Geo News reported.
Before Khan was sworn in, his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had reported that the Chief Minister’s annex in Punjab House will be utilised as the prime minister’s residence. But it was later decided by Khan to move to the military secretary’s residence following security concerns.
The residence where Khan will now stay in is situated in the PM House Colony and according to media reports, he will spend Sundays at Banigala. Yesterday, Khan said that the PM House has 524 servants and a fleet of 80 cars. Khan said he would just retain two servants.
“The prime minister, which is me, also has 33 bulletproof cars. We have helicopters and aeroplanes to fly us. We have massive governor houses and every conceivable luxury.
“On one hand we don’t have money to spend on our people; on the other hand, we have a section of our people living like our colonial masters used to live,” he said.
“Look at how we live. Look at how much money is spent by prime ministers on foreign tours? Where do these people spend Rs 650 million? Where does the speaker spend the Rs 160 million budget allotted to him? Are they going abroad to conquer land?” Khan asked.
Detailing plans on how he will cut down his own as well the country’s expenditure, he said “I will keep two people with me out of the 524. I will be staying in a three-bedroom house. I will have to keep two of the cars because my intelligence agencies tell me my life is under threat. I wish I did not have to move out of Banigala, but I have been forced to do so.”
Khan said his government would auction off all the other bulletproof cars and invited businesses to buy them during auction.
“We will put the proceeds of that auction in the state treasury,” he added.
Khan said that he wished that the PM House be turned into a research university.
“I am forming a committee under Dr Ishrat Husain (a top Pakistani banker and economist) to figure out how to cut expenses nationwide. I also want you to understand that the money we lavish on ourselves could have been spent on those who our state has left behind.
He said his slogan of a new Pakistan also requires a new thinking. “We have to think about those who we have left behind,” he said.