On official trip to Pakistan, UK minister joins family wedding

April 16th, 2011 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 16 (IANS) A Pakistani-origin British cabinet minister, who went on an official trip to the country to witness the devastation caused by floods, slipped out to attend a family wedding.

Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, the Conservative Party chairman, was on an official visit to Pakistan in February to discuss immigration and see the devastation caused by last year’s floods.

But the cabinet minister reportedly slipped away to attend a family wedding with her full security entourage, the Daily Mail reported.

Warsi and several armed guards were driven from Islamabad to Mirpur for the wedding during a four-day trip to Pakistan.

The groom is the son of Warsi’s brother-in-law.

Extensive security arrangements were put in place ahead of her arrival, with a senior Pakistani police officer inspecting the hall and scrutinising the guest list.

Hotel officials said guests were woken early on the morning of the wedding and told to move their cars in preparation for the British minister’s arrival.

A hotel official said the security demands caused chaos.

“There were no parliamentarians from the area at the wedding. It was solely a family function. She came all the way from Islamabad and went back in the evening,” he said.

Britain’s Foreign Office has published extensive details of the official visit to Pakistan on its website, including pictures of Warsi attending a briefing on the flood relief effort.

It also showed her taking a helicopter tour over the flood-affected areas and visiting a girls’ school. But there was no mention of Warsi attending the wedding.

Labour MP John Mann said: “It is outrageous if taxpayers were forced to pick up any part of the tab for the Conservative party chairman to attend a family wedding.”

A spokesman for pressure group The TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “When it’s a government trip there will obviously be a bill passed on to the taxpayer but extra costs shouldn’t be racked up by using a security team for personal events.”

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