ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has made 20 foreign trips after assuming the portfolio on April 27.
Bilawal toured thrice each to the United States and the United Arab Emirates, while two each to Saudi Arabia, China, and Uzbekistan, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Bilawal took charge as the foreign minister on April 2022, after which he paid 20 visits to 11 countries, of which 13 were individual visits as foreign minister, while seven were accompanied by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He also visited Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Switzerland, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
However, the foreign minister claimed that he bore the expenses of tickets and hotels during his foreign visits to reduce the financial burden on the national exchequer.
“I do not burden the national exchequer with the expenses of my abroad visits and even if I do, it is my prerogative as a foreign minister. I am the only foreign minister of Pakistan who purchases his own ticket and pays his own hotel bill.”
The FO spokesperson also confirmed that Bilawal paid the expenses of official trips by himself. The foreign visits were meant to explore trade opportunities, restore ties with friendly countries and remove misunderstandings.