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Khan You Afford It? Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Puts Official Residence Up For Rent

Cast-strapped government taking offers on the former cricket star’s seat of power. 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s official residence in Islamabad has been put on the market for rent, reeling under a financial crunch.

It has been reported that after the government of Pakistan, led by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in August 2019 announced that they are planning to convert the Prime Minister’s House into a university, the residence was vacated by Khan. The federal government has now dropped the plan and decided to instead rent out the property.

The federal cabinet, which had earlier announced a state-of-the-art federal educational institution at the Prime Minister House, has, as per the sources cited by local media, now decided to allow people to hold cultural, fashion, educational, and other events at the premises located at the Red Zone, Islamabad.

“Two committees have been formed for this purpose,” as per reports. “They will be responsible for ensuring the discipline and decorum of the Prime Minister’s House are not violated during the events.”

“After Auctioning Buffaloes, Cash-starved Pak Govt Puts PM’s Official Residence on Rent. In a tweet, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is facing huge debts and liabilities, has put his official residence on rent to generate income for the cash-strapped country,” said Amrita Bhinder, a tax lawyer.

The federal cabinet will meet and discuss ways to garner revenue from the House building of the Prime Minister, as per official sources.

The auditorium of the Prime Minister’s House, two guest wings, and a lawn can be rented out to generate funds. High-level diplomatic functions, international seminars will also be held at the former principal workplace of the Pakistani premier.

After taking over as the country’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan had announced that the Pakistan government does not have money to spend on the public welfare schemes, while some in the country are “living like our colonial masters used to live.” He has since then been living at his Bani Gala residence and only uses the office of the Prime Minister.

“Imran Khan may not be wanting to shift into his official residence for personal reasons. Renting the hose to generate revenue is a publicity stunt to fool the gullible public. How low can politics go!!!” said V. Mahalingam, a defense analyst, in a tweet.

Pakistan’s economy has shrunk by $19 billion in the last three years since Khan came to power. When he became the Prime Minister, he took many austerity steps to cut down the government expenses to give respite to the country’s economy, as per reports by the World Bank.

“Pakistan’s economy has been growing slowly over the past two decades,” states the report. “Annual per capita growth has averaged only 2 percent, less than half of the South Asia average, partly due to inconsistent macroeconomic policies and an under-reliance on investment and exports to drive economic growth.”

“In early FY20, which runs from July 2019 to June 2020, following one such episode of external and fiscal imbalances, the country entered a 39-month IMF-Extended Fund Facility.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra