Did the President foot the bill or the People of Pakistan?!

by Khurshid Anwer

There was a time when we used to envy the Arab princes

who could book a whole floor at Claridges in London, but

now we too can rejoice at having become so rich that our

rulers can afford to book not one but two floors of the

Willard Intercontinental Hotel at Pennsylvania Avenue

  According to the ‘News’ of May 11:

President Zardari stayed in the Thomas Jefferson Suite (Room

No 610, app 3000 sq ft, listed rate dollars 4,199 per night, plus

$608 tax). Bilawal Bhutto stayed in the Abraham Lincoln

Suite (Room No 605, 1,425 sq ft, listed rate dollars 2,299 per

night, plus $333 tax)

  (However, Pak Embassy in Washington has denied the rates

and puts them at 2,800 and 1.500. Also that the expenses for

Bilawal were borne by the president himself)

Others who stayed on the same floor included:

Mr and Mrs Husain Haqqani (Room 612);

Kamal Majidullah, special assistant to the prime minister

on water resources, (Room No 626);

Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali, secretary defence (Room No 624);

Zafar Altaf, PARC chairman, (Room No 641);

Murtaza Solangi (Room No 642);

Lt-Col Adil Rehmani (Room No 628);

Hawaldar Muhammad Jamil and

Sepoy Muhammad Habib Sultan and Sepoy Sajid Hussain Shah (Room No 631);

The ISI DG got Room No 523 on the 5th floor.

The IB DG was in Room No 528 and

Shaukat Tarin in Room No 508.

The list of the president’s delegation, published by the Pakistan embassy,

gave details of officials of the Foreign Office and other departments,

personal staff, security staff and media team>

Shah Mehmood Qureshi (foreign minister),

Nazar Muhammad Gondal (food and agriculture minister),

Rehman Malik (interior minister),

Qamar Zaman Kaira (information minister),

Salman Faruqui (secretary-general to the president),

Shaukat Fayyaz Ahmed Tarin (adviser to PM on finance),

Farahnaz Ispahani (MNA),

Farhatullah Babar (spokesperson for the presidency),

Dr Shoaib Suddle,

Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha,

Ghulam Murtaza Solangi (Radio Pakistan DG).

The personal staff included:

Maj-Gen Tasawwar Hussain (personal physician to the president),

Brig Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain (MS to the president),

Cdr Amir Saeed (acting deputy MS),

Sqn Ldr Malik Jalal Farooq (ADC to the president),

Saifullah (protocol assistant) and

Mushtaq Ahmed (valet).

The security staff included:

Brig Muhammad Iftikhar Mansoor (DG security),

Lt-Col Babar Mumtaz (chief security officer of the president),

Gul Khan Bhounar (security officer), Hav Muhammad Jamil (security officer),

Lance Naik Gul Zameen (security officer),

Sepoy Tahir Azam (security officer),

Lance Naik Abar Ali (security officer),

Muhammad Habib Sultan (security officer) and

Sepoy Sajid Hussain Shah (security officer).

The officials from the Foreign Office included:

Attiya Mehmood (addl secretary Americas),

M Haroon Shaukat (addl secretary Afghanistan and ECO),

Nasir Ali Khan (ambassador at large),

Ghalib Iqbal (chief of protocol),

Ameer Khurram Rathore (FMO director),

Muhammad Amjad Aziz Qazi (deputy chief of protocol),

Imran Ali Chaudhry (director Americas),

Adeel Ahmed Khan (protocol officer) and

Nadeem Hotiana (DPIO).

The officials from other departments included:

Khurshid Anwar Butt (joint DG/in-charge Advance Security Team),

Malik Zahoor Ahmed (NAPHIS DG),

Rashid Bashir Mazari (interior joint secretary),

Col Hammad (staff officer),

Ashiq Saleem (Advance Security Team),

Muhammad Sajjad Haider (FIA deputy director),

Muhammad Farhan Zahid (SP/ICT) and

Abdul Majid Aasi (NCMC AD).

The official media team included:

Shazia Sikander (PTV reporter, team leader),

Salahuddin Malik (PTV cameraman),

Abdul Ghaffar (PTV engineer),

Syed Anwarul Hasan (PTV reporter),

Khurshid Naqvi (PTV cameraman),

Anwar Naseem (PTV engineer),

Muhammad Tariq (PID photographer) ,

Syed Adnan Ali Rizvi (PID photographer) ,

Javed Akhtar (APP director news),

Ilyas Chaudhry (APP reporter),

Tariq Hameed (APP cameraman),

Zain Ali Javed (APP engineer) and

Fakhar Abbas Qamer (Radio Pakistan).

The Capital Suite (Room No 640) was  reserved for

presidential meetings. Room No 643 and 644 were taken over

by the Pak embassy as the camp office.

Other than these 62 members of the presidential delegation,

several members of the private media were also in

Washington at government expense. They stayed at different

hotels and traveled separately but were paid by the

government to cover the visit.


4 Responses to “Did the President foot the bill or the People of Pakistan?!”

  1. Wasiq Says:

    The News story was contradicted the very next day in The News.

    Now someone is deliberately plastering it everywhere without referring to the contradiction. Are you part of the hidden hand that misinforms the public with propaganda against every democratic government to pave the way for Martial Law?

    We had similar propaganda throughout the 1990s and governments were sacked over such propaganda and people put in prison, without any case being decided for a whole decade then being withdrawn.

    If there is any truth in the “big expense” claims then let opposition bring these to parliament. Do not conduct media trial or blog propaganda campaign.

    Why is it that expenses over trips by elected leaders are always topic of propaganda but not of military leaders? Have you ever posted anything about expenses under Musharraf? Do you ever question Pakistan’s military budget or the money wasted on Jihadi terrorists who continuously bring Pakistan a bad name.

    Time to stop being Kool and Blue and start thinking democratic and green.

    • koolblue Says:

      Does contradiction mean anything, in Pakistan, its as valuable as the info posted on this blog unless evidence of the transactions can be furnished! I am not going to delete your respnse as it serves 2 very important purposes, one to have a disenting view is essential , two so that others may reflect on these comments. When a govt in power does not suit the specific agenda, it is not acceptable, or when the comments do not suit your agenda then those are not acceptable,; you mention democracy and green….when may I ask were you ever democratic with anyone in a lesser position than yourself? and when did you last stand up when the national anthem is played or salute the Green & White flag in respect?! Pray be more objective and constructive so that others may gain some wisdom from your words not turn a deaf ear on subjectivity!
      Rise it is time to think with the God given intellect, not with the appendages in the nether zones! We, I mean the politicians, have much to learn, perhaps in the next 2 generations they may be born and raised as upstanding people in the meantime be as constructive as your precious time on this earth, May Almighty bestow His mercies upon this Land

  2. Sarfraz Says:

    President Asif Ali Zardari stayed at a suite the special rates for which were US $2800. The Embassy of Pakistan negotiated special rates with the hotel for boarding and lodging of the delegation accompanying the President on his visit to Washington DC. Similarly, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stayed in the suite the rates of which were US $1500. Moreover his stay was not at the State’s expense but being paid by President Asif Ali Zardari from his own pocket.

    As far as the composition of the delegation is concerned, there is hardly any unconcerned person in the entire composition of the delegation. For your kind information, the composition of delegation involves a number of offices and prior approval of various concerned is required for any inclusion in entourage. This SOP is followed in all the visits of the head of state and head of the Government.

    • koolblue Says:

      At least we have one viewpoint about the event and your word, sir, for the transparency of the process, but how tinted are the eyes and minds of those who decide; at a time when we are in financial crisis to mention just one, a wise representative would have reduced the team/entourage to bare bones, I am sure I would have had I been in a position of power. But at present why, then do we sack a leading prominent anchor and take the program off the air if there are no grounds to query the visit’s expenses. could it be that he was too close for comfort with the truth?! and how do we justify the free media fraud that is being plastered around the world?! To end, Sir think about the duality of our Babus and our elected representatives. Your views are very welcome because we must see the other side and decide for ourselves.

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