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May 19, 2017



MPAs give themselves a raise of over 100pc

Khuhro says emoluments now on par with other provinces


The Sindh Assembly has approved increasing the salaries of the chief minister, deputy speaker, ministers and other MPAs by more than 100 per cent to ensure that the “emoluments are on a par with other provinces” and to “encourage punctuality”.

The April 13 meeting of the selection committee constituted by the provincial legislature had reviewed the MPAs’ remunerations and allowances. On Thursday the body submitted its recommendations seeking a hike in the salaries. The assembly passed the Sindh Law Amendment Bill in this regard and it was approved with consensus of everyone present in the House. The law, termed the Sindh Law Amendment Act, will be applicable at once and be deemed to have taken effect on July 1, 2016.

Each MPA will now draw a monthly salary of Rs50,000 with Rs10,000 sumptuary allowance, Rs10,000 telephone allowance, Rs15,000 office maintenance allowance, Rs45,000 house rent, Rs15,000 utility allowance, Rs1,000 conveyance allowance and Rs5,000 accommodation allowance as well as Rs200,000 travelling voucher per annum.

For attending the sessions and meetings of the legislature, each MPA will get Rs1,000 per day and Rs20 per kilometre transport allowance for their arrival and departure.

The CM’s monthly salary will now be Rs150,000 with Rs20,000 sumptuary allowance, Rs70,000 telephone allowance, Rs2,000 house rent, Rs50,000 daily allowance and one-time Rs1 million equipment allowance as well as discretionary grants per annum among other allowances.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro, who headed the selection committee, said the hike was designed to bring the emoluments and benefits on a par with other provinces. “If the lawmakers are getting a raise, they should come to the House on time.”


Security companies

Replying to the MPAs’ questions on behalf of the CM, Khuhro said a police force of 35,000 to 40,000 personnel was not enough for a mega city such as Karachi, adding that the government was compelled to seek the Rangers’ help to tackle target killings and terrorism.

He said there were 265 registered private security companies with a workforce of 69,000. He said the government had received no complaints against the firms on whose basis their licences could be cancelled.

He said that there was a comprehensive law for issuing licences to the security companies, adding that only the firms that fulfilled all the legal requirements were issued licences. He was responding to Nusrat Sehar Abbasi’s concern that private security guards were found to be involved in criminal activities. She asked if the guards’ domicile and CNIC were checked before their hiring.


Weapons licences

Sardar Ahmed suggested taking measures to rid the entire country of weapons, to which Khuhro said that such a thing could happen only under ideal circumstances, adding that given the current law and order situation, the Sindh administration was obliged to issue arms licences so the people could protect themselves.

He reminded Ahmed that the provincial government had imposed a ban on issuing arms licences, which showed its desire for a weapons-free society. He said they were trying to computerise all the manual licences.


Water shortage

Local Government Minister Jam Khan assured the House that adequate arrangements were being made to overcome water shortage to facilitate the citizens during summer.

Kamran Akhtar had pointed out that Baldia Town was braving acute water shortage since many years, saying that he had contacted the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board several times but to no avail.

Khan said his department had disconnected dozens of illegal water hydrants across Karachi, adding that now every district of the city had only one hydrant.

He added that major operations had been carried out in the industrial areas, where many illegal water connections were disconnected and pumping stations closed.

Khurrum Sher Zaman said there was acute water shortage in his constituency since the past many months, claiming that the water board “mafia” was involved in corruption of Rs220 million.

He said 10,000 tankers were filled with water in collusion with the water utility, fetching it Rs800 per tanker, adding that there were also reports of leakage in his constituency. Khan assured him that the government was taking all possible measures to overcome water shortage.

Meanwhile, Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani rejected Seema Zia’s adjournment motion on environmental pollution in Karachi, terming it “not maintainable”. He said that it was an old reference and that the pollution issue was an old one.

On Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani’s privilege motion to accord Hyderabad’s Kali Mori College the status of a university, Khuhro requested him not to press the motion and assured him that the government was keen on granting the college the status of a university because many important personalities of the province had been educated there. Qaimkhani then withdrew the motion.


‘Unpopular’ police

Nusrat said the common man still did not trust the police, but they had full confidence in the paramilitary Rangers. She complained that the province was yet to get a proper home minister.

Khuhro said that both the police and Rangers were working for law and order, adding that terrorism was a major issue not just for Sindh but for the entire country.

He pointed out that nine labourers from Sindh were murdered in broad daylight in Balochistan, saying that the people who discussed the operation in Sindh never asked for an operation in Balochistan or the entire Pakistan.