GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah announced a 100 per cent increase in police salaries in the legislative assembly’s session on Friday. The pay rise will be effective in July.
The announcement came after Gilgit-Baltistan police went on a strike on Thursday, rejecting the earlier 50 per cent pay increase announced in the budget for 2010-11. The policemen, who were joined by security guards of Shah himself, argued that the rise was insufficient given the nature of their duties and warned that if their salaries were not brought at par with police from other parts of the country, they would spread their strike to the rest of the region. They pointed out that the pay increase was not consistent with the pledges made by Prime Minister Gilani, who had, before the elections, announced a 100 per cent increase.
In the post-budget session, chaired by speaker Wazir Baig, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Bashir Khan said that the Treasury benches were using delaying tactics to resolve the issue. “It is a matter of shame for the government as law enforcement agencies have stood up against the government,” he said.
Opposition lawmaker Bashir came down hard on the treasury benches, calling the budget a fraud. “The budget document contains nothing but distorted figures to mislead the people,” he said.
Another PML-Q lawmaker Mirza Hussain also criticised the budget, saying that they rejected it because it was “anti-people”. Representing Skardu, MLA Amna Ansari also derided the budget.
Legislators from the PML-Nawaz remained quiet throughout the session to indicate that they honoured their alliance in Punjab, but in private, they too expressed reservations over the budget and the way the Pakistan Peoples Party was governing.
Support came from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) members who endorsed the budget and insisted that it was poor-friendly. They said that it was the best that could have been done under the circumstances.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2010.
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