Monday, September 11, 2006

Poor Shaukat Aziz

Shaukat Aziz was taken seriously by the public at large during his near five-year stint as Minister for Finance. But this ended the moment he got rather shamefully elected from two-rigged by-elections in Tharparkar and Attock, rural constituencies where most of the illiterate rural voters had never even heard of him previously.

In Pakistan everyone, other than perhaps some members of PML (Q), acknowledges that the country is being ruled by a uniformed autocrat backed by the might of the army. That leaves poor Shaukat Aziz little room to project himself as a head of government as he has been completely overshadowed and subsumed by Musharraf.

So it’s not surprising that the man is constantly making trips overseas. After all it is only when he travels abroad as the ‘constitutionally appointed’ prime minister of Pakistan is he accorded the attention and importance due to a head of government.

So how much did Pakistan spend on Shaukat Aziz’s overseas trips last year?

According to newspaper reports a sum of Rs. 750 million (or US$ 12.5 million).

One might say that it is rather hefty price to pay for Aziz’s sensitive ego.

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