Arif Alvi did not take his entire family for Hajj on the government’s budget
The President’s Press Secretary claims that there was no chartered flight for the President and that only five members of his staff accompanied him, who all paid for their own expenses
Claim: President Arif Alvi took a delegation of 52 people, including his relatives, on a Hajj that the Pakistan government paid for with taxpayer money.
Fact: The press secretary to the President confirmed that only seven members of Arif Alvi’s family were a part of this delegation and that the president paid himself for all of their expenses, including plane tickets and accommodation.
On 17 July 2023, President Arif Alvi and his family departed for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, along with federal ministers and parliamentarians. They traveled on a special flight that was arranged by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for the official Hajj delegation.
From 25 June 2023 onwards, several social media posts alleged that the president and his family were performing Hajj on taxpayers’ money. Some claimed the president travelled with a 52-person entourage. A purported list of 25 members of his family and security staff performing Hajj for free was also circulated on social media, raising questions about the misuse of public funds.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check contacted the press secretary to the President who denied the claim and said that Alvi and his family were performing Hajj on their own personal expenditure and the statements regarding him using tax-payer money to do so are false.
He said that the president was paying for the air tickets and accommodation of his seven family members, who included his wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. He further clarified that the president did not take a chartered flight for himself and his family but instead they all traveled on the same flight as other federal ministers and parliamentarians. Other members on the plane included Rana Sanaullah and Hina Rabbani Khar.
He further said that the list of 25 members that was circulating on social media was fake and baseless.
He said that five members of the President’s staff also accompanied him, but they paid for their own expenses.
Soch Fact Check also looked into the statements made by other government officials regarding their Hajj trip. On 3 May 2023, Religious Affairs Minister Senator Talha Mahmood had announced that he would not give VIP Haj facilities to the members of parliament (MPs) and that they would have to pay for their own expenses. He had also said that no one would be allowed to perform Hajj for free, including staffers and parliamentarians.
On 25 June 2023, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar clarified that his statement regarding parliamentarians performing Hajj was “misconstrued” and claimed that the government did not bear their expenses for the holy journey. He had said that the government had arranged a special flight for lawmakers going to perform Hajj on 25 June. He had said that the government had requested the top officials of Saudi Arabia to allow a special Hajj flight from Pakistan after the cut-off date. This was done only because some lawmakers were scheduled to leave on June 22, which would mean that they would have had to skip the budget session.
He also said that all of them had paid their official and personal expenses and also paid for their air tickets. Defence Minister Khwaja Asif had also confirmed that they went to Saudi Arabia like a “common passenger” via a PIA flight.
The statements made by other government officials across the line to him also support the fact that they performed Hajj on their own expenses and did not receive any VIP facilities.
The tweets reached more than 644,400 views and over 4,500 interactions.
Conclusion: The claim that President Arif Alvi and his family performed Haj on government’s expenses is false. The statements made by other government officials across the line to him also support the fact that they performed Hajj on their own expenses and did not receive any VIP facilities.
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