ISLAMABAD: The government moved a bill in the National Assembly on Monday to double the salary of the President of Pakistan amid strong criticism by the opposition parties against the move.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmed introduced “The President’s Salary, and Privileges (Amendment) Bill, 2018”.
According to the bill, the government shall pay a monthly salary of Rs846,550 to the president as specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Pakistan. The current salary of the president of Pakistan is around Rs450,000.
Under this bill, the government may, by notification in the Gazette of Pakistan, amend the Fourth Schedule to increase the salary of the President of Pakistan keeping in view that guiding principle that the remuneration of the President shall be a symbolic one rupee higher than the salary of any holder of public office in relations to affairs of the federation.
The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Pakistan along with other matters also deals with salaries, allowances and privileges of the president.
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The tabling of the bill invited severe criticism from opposition lawmakers. Dr Shireen Mazari of PTI said that it is a shame that teachers are not being paid the salaries and the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills are also without the salaries for the past several months. She said in such a situation, a bill has been moved to set the salary of the president at Rs846,550. She was of the view that there is no logic behind increasing the salary of the president. “[The president] does no work. The government should withdraw this bill,” Mazari added.
MQM-Pakistan’s Abdul Rashid Godil said the expenditure of President House is already billions of rupees and now they want to increase the salary of the president. He proposed that the salary of the president should be made equal to that of a grade-22 officer.
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Prior to moving of this bill, a calling attention notice was moved by Nighat Parveen Mir to highlight the issue of non-payment of salaries to temporary teachers of Islamabad model colleges and schools. The opposition benches were of the view that no one was ready to assure that salaries of these teachers would be paid but it moved a bill to increase the salary of the president.
JI’s Sahibzada Tariqullah was of the view that fewer days of the current assembly were remaining and this bill should have been introduced long ago. He said presenting a bill at this point in time is injustice with the people of the country.
Earlier, the National Assembly started its session at the Parliament House in Islamabad on Monday afternoon with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair. The chair stated that May 31 would be the last day of the term of current assembly and it would be dealt to give chance to the lawmakers to share their five-year experience at the House. He expressed hope that parliamentarians instead of registering their complaints on this day would end it on a positive note. He assured that the prime minister of Pakistan would also be present on this occasion.
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Earlier Mazari on a point of order strongly criticised the government over appointment of Ali Siddiqui as ambassador to the US at the time when only three to four days of the current government were remaining. She asked what sort of secretive deals are being handled by the government by appointing a person who is also facing NAB cases. She said the foreign office did not award him clearance as well. “The prime minister has deputed his business partner in Washington,” she claimed.
The House was seemingly lacking quorum and the government attempted to move a motion to refer ‘Pakistan Power and Infrastructure Board (Amendment) Bill 2017,’ to a joint sitting for consideration, but this move was resisted by the opposition.
Seeing the persistence of the government over the bill, Mazari pointed out lack of quorum. On counting, the House was found not in-order and the speaker adjourned the house to meet today (Tuesday) at 11am.
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