Federal railway minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Billore are leaving for Saudi Arabia on Sunday night by PIA flight No PK-741 along with his wife and personal secretary to perform Umrah at government expenses in sheer violation of prime minister directives.
Sources told about Rs 900000 will be spent on federal minister visit to Saudi Arabia and all these expenses will be borne by a senior officer of railway amid the reports that prime minister has imposed ban on visits at government expenses.
Federal minister had issued orders that his wife was unwell therefore, his residential arrangements may be made close to Mecca and Madina and he also be provided transport facility therein.
Sources told his stay arrangements were made in a hotel earlier against the rent of 500 riyals but on his insistence the government will have to bear the brunt of the rent to the tune of 3500 riyals.
In the wake of unprecedented devastations caused by the floods, the Ulema had issued decree that the amount to be spent on Nafli Umrah be donated to the relief funds for rehabilitation of flood affectees.
It had also been learnt that the minister had purchased a new vehicle costing Rs 1.6 million by refusing to use official Honda car. He had also sanctioned Rs 2.6 million for repairs and renovation of VIPs rooms in Pakistan Railway rest house.
When contacted by jazba blog, Ashfaq Ahmad personal staff officer of railway minister , he told railway minister had always performed Umrah at personal expenses adding minister’s tickets for Umarah had not been confirmed so far. However residential arrangements for the minister have been made in Pakistan House at Medina and its daily rent is 70 riyal, he indicated. .
Federal minister will not stay in any hotel in Mecca but he will stay with his friend, he said. Prime Minister had sent a letter that the vehicles which are under use of ministers be changed if they are one year old or have run 250000 kilometers, he pointed out. This vehicle was provided to the federal minister in 2002, he said adding the minister had not purchased this vehicle out of Railway funds but it had been purchased and provided by the cabinet division to him.
Railway minister had not issued any directives for decoration of VIPs rooms in railway rest house in Murree, he told. The minister however had ordered for construction of additional bath and these orders were also cancelled when it was told that the cost of construction was far higher, he added.