Editorial The entourage Thursday, March 31, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=39056&Cat=8

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, at a time when there is much talk of the need for austerity and cutting back on expenses, has taken a delegation of some 90 plus people to India. We do not yet know who these people are, but it can be safely assumed that not all of them have played a part in assisting with talks or performing other vital business. They can then be assumed to be ‘joy-riders’, paid for with tax-payers’ money, who have tagged along only to engage in some cricket watching and perhaps some shopping. Before the giant contingent set off, there was talk of bitter wrangling to get aboard, and journalists were said to have participated in it.

Trips overseas are everyone’s right. So is enjoying cricket. But wasting public money at a time when we are in such dire economic straits, doesn’t say much about the government’s priorities. Surely, the prime minister is aware of our financial struggles. He must set a personal example of tightening the belt, keeping expenditures to the minimum, thereby demonstrating that his administration is capable of resisting pressure and doing everything it can to lead from the front in these difficult times. Doing so would win for it far greater respect than merely loading as many people as it can on the plane bound for India and in doing so, undoubtedly earning the scorn of many. This then, is the price to be paid for trying to please many, at the cost of the welfare of millions of citizens who cannot even dream of a ride to Mohali or any other place in the world, for that matter.

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