Staying put: The lights are off, but they won’t go home

Published: May 28, 2013
Email
According to the National Assembly Secretariat, parliamentarians were to vacate the official accommodation by May 20, and every single member was issued a notice in this regard.

According to the National Assembly Secretariat, parliamentarians were to vacate the official accommodation by May 20, and every single member was issued a notice in this regard.

ISLAMABAD: They’ve been served eviction notices. Their electricity has been cut off in order to get them to move out. They have even been threatened with forcible eviction and yet, they refuse to leave. No, these aren’t land-grabbers or squatters; these are the former MNAs who are trying, by hook or by crook, to hold onto their official suites in the parliamentary lodges.

These former members of the National Assembly seem to be in a state of denial about losing the 2013 general elections, since 102 of them are refusing to budge from their Rs4,000-a-month official suites.

According to the National Assembly Secretariat, parliamentarians were to vacate the official accommodation by May 20, and every single member was issued a notice in this regard.

After a week of overstay, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) got their attention by disconnecting the electrical supply of their parliament lodges on Monday. The moment the light went out, residents of the now-illegally occupied suites scrambled to lodge their complaints against the apparent technical glitch. However, they were told it was not a technical fault; rather, the move was aimed at forcing them to vacate the premises.

The MP suites comprise two bedrooms, a drawing room, dining room and a lounge for which the MPs pay only Rs4,000 to the CDA.

Similar accommodations in the capital city, according to real estate experts, may cost up to Rs70,000.

Hall of shame

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tops the list with 36 illegally occupied lodges that belong to former federal ministers, state ministers and a former premier. They include former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, former state minister Ayatullah Durrani, Yasmeen Rehman and the richest man of the outgoing assembly Noor Alam Khan.

In addition, 19 members from the incoming Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), seven from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), six Awami National Party (ANP) members and six from the PML-Quaid are yet to hand over their accommodations.

Mehrun Nisa Afridi, elected on reserved seats for women by the PPP, passed away months ago, yet her official accommodation has not been vacated to date.

Abdul Kadir Khanzada, Haider Abbas Rizvi – who resigned from the NA months before the completion of the assembly’s tenure, and Khushbakht Shujaat from the MQM are still occupying official accommodation.

Kashmala Tariq from the PML-Q (likeminded), and Sardar Shafqat Hayat, Ch Naseer Ahmed Bhutta, Rana Mehmoodul Hassan, and Mehboob Sultan from the PML-N have not given up possession either.

The former lawmakers were served the first notice by the NA secretariat to vacate their accommodations by May 20. “Ex-MNAs must vacate the suites at the Parliament Lodges and the Government Hostel (MNA Hostel) by May 20 after which suites will be vacated forcibly,” the notice stated.

On the expiry of deadline (May 20), 141 members of the outgoing assembly were still occupying Parliament Lodges, following which another notice was served on May 25.

A senior official in the National Assembly Secretariat told The Express Tribune that the CDA would have to get the lodges vacated before the first session of the newly-elected National Assembly, and for that matter, it could take help from the magistrate to forcibly evict the illegal occupants.

Bring on the ‘qabza groups’

While the National Assembly secretary has yet to allot suites to newly elected members, some have started occupying suites by force.

One such incident took place on Monday when the staff of Maulana Muhammad Gohar Shah from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F), who defeated ANP chief Asfandyar Wali, forcibly occupied suite E-110 to accommodate former Senator Hafiz Rasheed.

The staff of the JUI-F leader occupied the suite in the block reserved for women by breaking the locks. The CDA lodged a complaint with the Secretary National Assembly in this regard.

Parliament Lodges

There are 359 suites in the Parliament Lodges, 83 of which are reserved for members of the Senate, while 276 are for MNAs. Of these 276 suites, some 80 will be retained by MNAs who were re-elected in the recent polls.

Another 60 suites at the Parliament Lodges are reserved for women MNAs. Out of 60 reserved suites, 50 will be retained by MNAs, who were either elected directly or are on reserved seats.

The total number of suites retained by their current occupants thus comes to 130, leaving 116 suites in Parliament Lodges illegally occupied by former MNAs.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (12)

  • MOA
    May 28, 2013 - 3:43AM

    Good job Pakistan for re-electing these crooks. They are only in it for the perks. Take away the perks and see how far they stay away from assemblies.

    Recommend

  • Char Latan
    May 28, 2013 - 4:27AM

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely….yet the lack of power does not faze the corrupted.
    Go figure.

    Recommend

  • sehr siddiqui
    May 28, 2013 - 4:32AM

    So much for the Law makers ( law Breakers ). Does any law apply to them. Can’t they be barred from future seat or any government position. The least that we can do is to charge them at market rate for the period of illegal occupation and make the recovery as land revenue arrears. The Secretary National Assembly, please show the courage and lodge complaint for illegal possession of government property at Kohsar Thana.

    Recommend

  • CaptainJanjua
    May 28, 2013 - 5:04AM

    How the mighty have fallen!! HAHAHAHAHA! But seriously this behavior should not be condoned ,and the ex-MNAs should be given the option of either paying the total market rent for the rooms since they were elected and then be forcibly evicted; or they can save themselves the embarrasment and leave quietly now.

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    May 28, 2013 - 5:16AM

    These were the people who were making laws for the nation yet they don’t abide by the laws of the land. I think the police should vacate these official accommodation forcefully and let the press stand there and record the whole shameful affair. These people had no shame and they are corrupt to the core even those who are multi-millionaires by world standard, they have ridden the backs of poor people of this unfortunate country for too long and then they wonder why the politicians have such a bad reputation among the citizens of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    May 28, 2013 - 5:19AM

    ET, please print the names of these people so that the nation know who are these people and why were they elected in the first place.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    May 28, 2013 - 5:27AM

    Please publish the whole list

    Recommend

  • Cynic
    May 28, 2013 - 6:38AM

    Theses people are shameless, and should be exposed.

    Recommend

  • NAKHTAR
    May 28, 2013 - 7:01AM

    4, 000???????????/
    What a shame full ammount, do they get the same house allowance?

    Recommend

  • KAY
    May 28, 2013 - 7:04AM

    No comment or action from Imran Khan against these crooks? Where is Naya Pakistan?

    Recommend

  • Asaf
    May 28, 2013 - 8:11AM

    I would argue that we, as a nation, are devoid of any decency and reason. They were elected representatives of the people, notwithstanding their performance or background issues. Give them a months grace period after the elections day to vacate the lodges, or any reasonable period of time. Eight days are certainly not reasonable. Elections were held on May 11th, you would factor in appeal periods for any disputed constituency results. After all other house keeping issues are settled, ask the party heads and independents in a dignified manner to vacate. And if all other reasonable means are exhausted, and the lodges are not vacated, you would take any drastic action like threatening evictions, etc. Bill them for overstay at regular cost of living in the city. But no, we have to make a spectacle of everything. Immature people, from top to bottom. Shame!

    Recommend

  • Akhtar Hassan
    May 29, 2013 - 3:30AM

    Where is the media? Why don’t they highlight this corruption in their live shows? Please expose all these shameless people by printing their names and names of their parties.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan