After PM's criticism, Punjab Assembly speaker amends bill to omit lifetime perks for CM

Published March 16, 2019
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. — DawnNewsTV/File
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. — DawnNewsTV/File

Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Friday reviewed the bill regarding a raise in salaries of provincial lawmakers and amended the clause detailing the perks and privileges accorded to the chief minister before the bill is sent to the governor for final approval.

An earlier version of the bill prescribed a six-fold increase in the salary of the chief minister, three-fold raise for the speaker, deputy speaker and ministers and a two-fold increase for MPAs, besides enhancing their perks.

The amendment made today removed the lifetime perks and privileges of the chief minister, leaving intact only "suitable and adequate security". It could not be immediately confirmed if the salary figures for the MPAs were reduced.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Thursday expressed his strong displeasure over the move made by the Punjab Assembly to raise the salaries following which, despite the bill having been passed unanimously, it was held back for amendment.

“I am extremely disappointed by decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays & privileges of MPAs, Ministers & esp CM. Once prosperity returns to Pak such a move cld be justified, but now, when we do not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable,” the premier had said in a tweet.

He said the chief minister should not be provided a house for a lifetime, as laid down in the bill, and the facility should be restricted to just three months.

Employing powers granted to him under Section 200 of the Assembly Rules, 1997, the speaker today omitted the following perks and privileges given for a lifetime to every person who, after the general elections of 2002, has held the office of chief minister for a period not less than six months:

  • Suitable and adequate security including provision of close protection services with at least one vehicle (SUV) of engine capacity not less than 2500cc with five security personnel in the vehicle, excluding driver, which the government shall make available
  • One personal secretary and two junior clerks to be arranged by the government
  • A new vehicle with driver maintained at the expense of the government
  • Payment of Rs10,000 per month as telephone allowance
  • A government-maintained residence of adequate standard in Lahore subject to the condition that the former chief minister does not own any residence in Lahore

The entire text above has now been removed to state that every person who has held the chief minister's office will be entitled to suitable and adequate security for a lifetime.

Speaking to DawnNewsTV regarding the development, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said: "The prime minister has already expressed his stance on the issue. It would not be appropriate for me to express my opinion at this point."

He said he had learned of the fact that an amendment was being made in the bill but added that the draft was yet to reach him and he will review it once received.

Earlier, it was thought that the first version of the bill had reached the governor, prompting the premier to ask him to return it without signing it.



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