KARACHI: On Thursday, the Sindh Assembly passed a bill improving the rights and allowances of the provincial parliamentary secretaries, including the separate salary of Rs 50,000, the use of a car, house rental and sumptuary allowance.
The Sindh Parliamentary Secretaries (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, proposed by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla, said that the privileges and benefits of parliamentary secretaries were improved as their remuneration was negligible compared to their counterparts from other provinces.
He told the house that a Sindh Assembly common lawmaker had a monthly sum of about Rs155,000 but that an additional ‘nominal’ amount of about Rs25,000 was earned by a parliamentary secretary.
Read Also: SAPM on Power Tabish Gohar resigns from post
The parliamentary affairs minister, in response to a question from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Mohammad Hussain Khan of Pakistan, said the rise would not be a burden on the provincial exchequer.
MQM lawmaker says Sindh cannot afford such moves
He said that in the province, there were five legislative secretaries working. As Hussain Khan put it, there will not be a rise and a burden of millions of rupees,” he added.”
Though opposing the bill, the MQM-P legislator said that Sindh was still losing capital and now the ruling party wished to improve the salary of parliamentary secretaries. “We [the province of Sindh] do not have sufficient resources to upgrade our infrastructure and resolve education department issues,” he said.
Mr. Hussain went on to add that the provincial government created a fund to deal with the deadly virus even after the Covid-19 pandemic, which revealed that the province was short of money.
A parliamentary secretary can draw his pay, allowances, benefits and privileges in the capacity of an MPA, according to clause 3 of the bill. In addition, he or she will also be entitled to a separate payment of Rs50,000 to be paid by the law department and an official vehicle by the department to which he or she belongs along with a driver.
At the cost of Rs10,000 a month, the parliamentary secretaries will also earn Rs45,000 a month in the head of house rent along with sumptuary allowance.
Three bills were also presented by Mr. Chawla: the Regulation of Narcotic Drugs (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Sindh Child Protection Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021; and the Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, 2021, which were submitted for further consideration to the standing committee.
“Meanwhile, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani ruled an adjournment motion by Muttahida Majlis-i-Syed Amal’s Abdul Rasheed on “lack of basic facilities” out of order. The speaker argued that the resolution was not in accordance with the assembly’s laws and procedures.
Criticizing the provincial government, Mr. Rasheed said the whole of Karachi had been turned into ruins. “Karachi is Pakistan’s economic hub and generates maximum revenue, but there is no proper cleanliness system in the city,” the MMA lawmaker said.
Separately, Minister of Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said that the shortage of district municipal corporations and the absence of high court appointments had suspended the meetings of district public safety commissions.
Mr Sheikh blamed PTI MPA Arsalan Taj Ghumman for shifting the notices in response to a call-attention notice on behalf of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the home department portfolio, when there were no district municipal corporations.
Ghumman had questioned why the District Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission was not yet constituted as required under Chapter-V of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 and Revival of Police Order, 2002) (Amendment) Act, 2019.
He said the commission had to monitor police actions and behaviour with people, but for the past six months it had not held its meeting.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister told PTI’s Shahnawaz Jadoon that action will be taken in his constituency against the free selling of drugs.
He said stringent measures had also been taken in the past with the help of police and Rangers.
The minister also requested the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan governments to stop importing drugs from their respective provinces to Sindh.