KARACHI: The standing committee on law has discussed increasing the salaries and allowances for ministers, members of the Sindh Assembly, advisors and special assistants.
The committee met on Wednesday with most members recommending a 100 per cent upgrade and others 50 to 60 per cent. However, the finance department said that the government cannot manage more than 40 percent.
Currently, a minister is paid Rs72,500 including benefits and an MPA around Rs40,000. A 100 per cent increase would come to Rs145,000. Talking to The Express Tribune, the committee’s chairman Syed Bachal Shah said that given the sky-high prices, the government has decided to increase the benefits of elected representatives who are in close coordination with their communities.
“There were some recommendations but nothing has been finalised,” he said. “More meetings are needed to reach consensus and [we] hope that a bill will be tabled in the assembly soon once a decision is made.” Other members who attended the meeting included MPA Humera Alwani, Anwar Maher and Ayaz Soomro of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Sardar Ahmed of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Nusrat Saher Abbasi, of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.
Alwani told The Express Tribune that there had been some discussion on how the salaries of judges had been increased [“salary of the chief justice of Pakistan was more than Rs400,000”] and the Punjab government has also enhanced the benefits of its elected members.
Therefore, she argued, similar privileges should be given Sindh’s MPAs, advisors, special assistants as well. The PML-F’s Nusrat Saher Abbasi was the only member who opposed these changes.
“Since the people of Sindh have been suffering from different problems, including load shedding and poverty, we opposed an increase in the benefits,” she said. The committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, April 20, after which it will send the paperwork to the chief minister. SAMAA TV reported on April 8 that an assessment of the Sindh Assembly’s parliamentary year has revealed that 168 members didn’t participate in the proceedings during the year 2009 and 2010 and remained silent.
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