PM Khan summons CM Buzdar over bill approving increments for Punjab lawmakers

Updated March 18, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan may ask Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to take practical steps to stop the increments. — Photo courtesy: PM Khan's Instagram account
Prime Minister Imran Khan may ask Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to take practical steps to stop the increments. — Photo courtesy: PM Khan's Instagram account

Prime Minister Imran Khan summoned Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for a meeting on Monday to provide an explanation over a bill seeking an increase in members' salaries recently passed by the Punjab Assembly, according to sources in the CM Secretariat.

The bill approving an increment in provincial lawmakers' salaries and fringe benefits was passed by the Punjab Assembly last week. The next day, the prime minister had taken to Twitter to express his "extreme disappointment" over the move, saying that it was "untenable" in the current atmosphere when the country "[does] not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people".

After the passage of the bill, the speaker’s salary had jumped from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000 per month and his deputy would get Rs185,000 instead of Rs35,000, along with cabinet members and advisers.

Punjab MPAs are now entitled to Rs80,000 per month rather than Rs18,000, and their utility bills entitlement has gone up to Rs200,000 instead of earlier Rs120,000. This fiscal adjustment, naturally, had no one to oppose in the House and the bill was passed within a few minutes.

Two days after the premier had publicly denounced the move, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi reviewed the bill and amended a clause that detailed the increase in perks and privileges provided to lawmakers. The amendment removed the lifetime perks and privileges of the chief minister, leaving intact only "suitable and adequate security".

The premier, in his meeting with the Punjab chief minister today, may ask Buzdar to take practical steps to halt the increment, the sources informed DawnNewsTV.

The bill has not been dispatched to the Punjab Governor House yet and is still at the CM Secretariat. Prime Minister Khan will also discuss the overall political and administrative matters of the province with Buzdar, the sources added.