The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) austerity measures were much needed by the time of its election. Along with implementing wider policy measures the government has done a commendable job of reducing operational expenses of all arms of the government. From reducing official entourages to axing free service for state officials the government has been quite busy. As the Prime Minister promised the process of austerity has started from the top, with the PM office making an active effort to reduce expenses. Extravagant trips by past leaders have weighed heavily on the national exchequer, and the Prime Minster has set a fine example by breaking from that damaging tradition.

However, the PM office must be careful regarding the methods it uses to reduce expenses. The Prime Minister’s participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) this year was partially funded by his friends and well-known businessmen Ikram Sehgal and Imran Chaudhry. It may have saved money, but this practice throws up irking questions that the PM Office should seek to avoid.

In most nations private individual are prevented from contributing to government member’s official business to ensure that they do not gain undue leverage on them. Even if they seek no leverage or no leverage would accrue, such contributions are prohibited to make sure no objections can be raised by the opposition. The perception of irregular behavior is as damaging as the behavior itself in most cases. Considering that the PTI has criticized the opposition for nepotism in the past, it would advisable to not give the opposition the chance to do the same.

Being hosted by friends and well-wishers is completely justified when the Prime Minster was a cricketer and a well-known celebrity; it becomes a different matter now that he is the leader of a sovereign nation.