Imran Khan to scrap hundreds of staff and move to three-bed home as he pledges new austerity drive for Pakistan

Ben Farmer
Pakistan's new prime minister Imran Khan speaks to the nation in his first televised address in Islamabad - REUTERS

Imran Khan will forego the lavish lodgings normally used by Pakistan's prime ministers and live in a three-bedroom house with the use of only two servants rather than hundreds, he said.

The newly sworn in leader used his first address to the nation pledge a new austerity drive and rail against waste as his country faces a severe economic crisis.

The former cricket hero said it was shameful that the sprawling prim minister's house had 524 staff and a fleet of 80 vehicles, 33 of them bullet proof. He would keep two and sell the rest, he said.

“I want to tell my people, I will live a simple life, I will save your money.”

The 65-year-old will live in a three-bed residence normally reserved for the Military Secretary.

He also used his televised Sunday evening address to call on the rich to start paying taxes and for Pakistani's living overseas to send their money back to domestic banks to help the country's foreign currency crisis.

Pakistani men watch a television broadcasting Imran Khan's speech Credit: ABDUL MAJEED/AFP

His speech repeated many of the populist promises he has made in recent years, but offered little other detail of how he will stave off an impending economic crisis which his own finance minister has said is dire.

Mr Khan also spoke of his country's need to tackle poverty, malnutrition and promised to reduce some of the world's highest maternal death rates and infant mortality rates.

He said Pakistan was in severe danger from climate change and spoke about the need to educate the 22.8 million Pakistani children who are out of school.

Meanwhile his new foreign minister said on Monday that he wanted talks with neighbouring India and Afghanistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, also stressed that the civilian government would determine foreign policy, potentially putting Mr Khan's new administration on a collision with the powerful military.

Pakistan's generals have ruled the country for much of its history and view policy on national security, India and Afghanistan as their realm.

Mr Qureshi said that "the foreign policy of Pakistan will be formed here at the foreign office."