Retirement benefits: Outgoing MNAs to win lucrative perks

Govt set to entertain lawmakers with privileges afforded to grade-22 officers


Qadeer Tanoli May 21, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: In a highly controversial move the outgoing federal government is all set to entertain the lawmakers even after their retirement by awarding lucrative perks and privileges, which are entitled to government servants of grade-22.

Recently the National Assembly passed a resolution for the formation of a forum to resolve the issues of former members of national assembly. Ex-MNA of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Zamrud Khan was nominated convener of the forum.

Seemingly the parliamentary parties had no issue with this forum when resolution in this context was adopted by the House.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had their reservations over the person who was supposed to head the forum.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed had moved the motion for setting up a forum headed by Zamrud Khan which would seek welfare of ex-MNAs.

While speaking to The Express Tribune Aftab elaborated the salient features of the forum and said that “ex-MNAs would be entitled to medical facilities” adding that the move also intends to give them “facility of rest houses after their retirement.”

He said the purpose of this forum is to give facilities to ex-MNAs that are enjoyed by the secretaries of grade-22. “The forum would monitor the day to day issues being faced by the ex-MNAs and it will attempt to address these issues,” Ahmad stated.

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However, the financial impact of this forum could not be learnt by this correspondent.

PTI leader Dr Shireen Mazari told The Express Tribune that her party has no issue with the forum if it has no major financial implications.

While responding to a query why she had opposed the move she said it seemed that the ruling party had wanted to facilitate a single specific person by appointing him as the head of the forum.

“Let the ex-MNAs decide who they want to lead the forum instead of appointing someone directly out of way,” she added.

Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal’s (JUI-F) Naeema Kishwar Khan was of the view that during presentation of the resolution, “lawmakers were not informed about primal characteristics of the forum.”

This is pertinent to mention here that government employees go through certain criteria to become a grade-22 employee and for that they have to complete more than 30 years of service.

The grade-22 official is required to serve anywhere in the country as and when required during his/her service period.

The MNAs, on the other hand, are not government employees and representing the people is considered as an honour and not an employment.

Unlike a parliamentarian a government servant can be posted anywhere not only across the country but also AJK, G-B, FATA and its adjoining belt which is full of rugged mountains and hilly terrains.

Moreover, the parliamentarians are not supposed to report any higher authority as the civil servants do.

They follow a complete chain of command with outmost discipline and their Annual Confidential Reports are written by the superior on yearly basis.

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Any official can be promoted or demoted on the basis of the performance evaluation reports. Besides, there is no specific criterion for the parliamentarians.

The government officials generally wait for decades for government accommodations but the parliamentarians are lodged in Parliament lodges and MNAs hostels in the heart of Islamabad.

What would be the financial implications of this decision is yet to be ascertained but perhaps it would not be lauded by the general public at large.

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