Islamabad, Nov 11 : Former Pakistan prime minister Shaukat Aziz made as many as 50 foreign visits between 2004 and 2007, costing the national exchequer more than Rs one billion (Rs 100 crores).
Details of Aziz's foreign visits provided by the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi show that in 2004, the former prime minister visited 11 countries - Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, UAE, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and China - that cost the national kitty Rs 92.02 million. With 81 people making up his entourage and a bill of Rs 24.57 million, the five-day visit to China proved to be the costliest for the year.
In 2005, Aziz undertook visits to Switzerland, Brussels, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Malaysia, Brunci, Thailand, Singapore, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Germany, Italy, Afghanistan, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Bangladesh and Malta, at a cost of around Rs 400 million. The most expensive visit of this year was of Japan and Hong Kong from August 8 to 13, with spendings totalling Rs 48.3 million and an entourage of 61 people.
The following year, 2006, proved to be the most expensive of all in which more than Rs 400 million were spent on Aziz's foreign visits. His visits to New York and Halifax cost Rs 92.14 million to the national exchequer.
In 2007, he visited 14 countries - including Afghanistan, Switzerland, Brussels, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Uzbekistan, India, Jordan, Malaysia and the Netherlands - with a price tag of Rs 120 million, reported the Daily Times.
A tentative list of his entourage was also given to the House, and members include his spouse Rukhsana Aziz, former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim and former ministers Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Aftab Sherpao, Safwanullah Khan, Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussain and Tariq Azeem.