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August 19, 2019

Punjab raises salaries of all lawmakers, advisers

Top Story

August 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government has enforced increased salaries for the chief minister, ministers, special assistants, advisers, parliamentary secretaries, speaker, deputy speaker and members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) against the publicly expressed direction of the prime minister, nixing the raises.

Two Punjab ministers were contacted by The News to know why the bill passed by the provincial assembly five months back has now been quietly implemented while the prime minister had voiced his indignation over these hefty raises. They offered no comment, saying that they were not aware of the reason.

Punjab chief minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill did not attend calls to his cell phone. He was sent a question – isn’t the enactment of the bill a violation of the premier’s directive – but he chose not to respond even after a week.

The day the bill was passed on March 13 this year attracting public outcry, the prime minister had aired his strong displeasure and tweeted: 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 could be justified, but now, when we do not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable.

The premier had also directed Governor Chaudhry Sarwar not to assent the bill, and the governor had made a public announcement that he would follow the prime minister’s directive. He had also summoned Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and asked him to take back the bill, which, however, was kept pending.

A close reading of the act shows that some changes have been introduced in the structure of salaries, allowances and privileges of the chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker, but rest of the raise remains the same.

However, it is known that the bill was never presented in the provincial assembly again to insert these amendments in it. It is provided in the Constitution and law that a bill can only be changed by the legislature concerned.

According to the amended bill, which has now become an act after the governor has assented to it, the chief minister will withdraw a monthly salary of Rs180,000 instead of Rs39,000. The original bill had fixed it at Rs425,000. He will get Rs50,000 per month as the sumptuary allowance.

A Punjab minister will receive Rs100,000 as the monthly salary instead of Rs35,000 and sumptuary allowance of Rs40,000 in place of Rs10,000. Every person who, after the general elections of 2002 has held the office of the Punjab chief minister for a period not less than six months will for life time be entitled to official suitable and adequate security. The caretaker chief ministers are excluded.

Under the new act, the Punjab speaker will get Rs185,000 as the monthly salary in place of Rs37,000 and sumptuary allowance of Rs25,000 as against Rs12,000 per Menem. Originally, the speaker had been proposed to receive the monthly pay of Rs260,000. The deputy speaker will be paid Rs120,000 as the monthly pay in place of Rs35,000 and sumptuary allowance of Rs25,000 instead of Rs10,000.

Every parliamentary secretary will get Rs83,000 as the salary instead of previous Rs20,000; Rs22,000 as monthly sumptuary allowance in place of Rs10,000; Rs35,000 per Menem for petrol and maintenance of car compared to earlier Rs20,000; house rent of Rs50,000 as against previous Rs20,000; Rs12,000 as gas and electricity charges instead of Rs6,000; and Rs35,000 per diem as compared to Rs25,000 for the period of residence on duty, assembly session or committee meeting if he is not provided official residence in Lahore.

Besides, a parliamentary secretary will be paid additional traveling allowance of Rs300,000 in place of Rs120,000 per annum; Rs2,000 as daily allowance instead of Rs1,000 when on tour; and Rs20,000 as office maintenance allowance as against earlier Rs10,000. A special assistant will receive Rs100,000 as the monthly salary in place of Rs35,000 and Rs50,000 as monthly sumptuary allowance as against Rs4,000.

An adviser will get monthly salary of Rs100,000 as against Rs30,000 and monthly sumptuary allowance of Rs50,000 as compare to Rs4,000. Regardless of his/her political affiliation, every MPA will be reimbursed a salary of Rs76,000 in place of previous Rs18,000; and Rs300,000 as additional travelling allowance in place of Rs120,000 every year.

The MPA will be paid daily and conveyance allowances of Rs2,000 and Rs1,000 as against earlier Rs1,000 and Rs600 respectively; accommodation allowance of Rs3,000 per day in place of Rs1,500 if no official house is available to him; monthly house rent of 50,000 as against Rs29,000; Rs15,000 as gas and electricity charges compared to Rs6,000; Rs15,000 as the monthly sumptuary allowance in place of Rs10,000.

A standing committee chairman will get Rs30,000 as petrol and maintenance allowance for his official car as against Rs15,000. An ex-MPA will be entitled to free indoor and outdoor medical facilities available to class one government officer.

The sitting or former chief minister, speaker, deputy speaker, minister or MPA will be entitled to the use of VIP lounges at all airports of Pakistan and official and diplomatic passport.

The perks and privileges of the leader of the opposition in the Punjab assembly have not been amended. Under the Punjab Provincial Assembly (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges of Members) Act, 1974, he is already entitled to the salary, allowances and privileges as are admissible to a Punjab minister. He is entitled to one official telephone at his office and one at his residence, both for office and private use. The liability of the government in respect of the two telephones will not exceed the amount equal to 10,000 local calls collectively for both the telephones.

To effect all these several changes, at least eight existing laws were amended through the act. There are 35 ministers, 38 parliamentary secretaries, 21 chairmen of standing committees, five special assistants and three advisers. The Punjab assembly consists of 369 MPAs.

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