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Imran Khan summoned Punjab CM

19 March, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed Punjab Chief Minister Usmam Buzdar to ‘improve’ governance in the province, as he summoned the provincial chief executive to seek an explanation over a bill recently passed by the Punjab Assembly proposing hefty increase in salaries of the lawmakers.

During the meeting held at the PM Office, Imran Khan reiterated his disapproval of the Punjab Public Representatives’ Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 passed by the Punjab Assembly last week. Buzdar reportedly told Imran Khan that an increase in the salaries of lawmakers was ‘necessary’, to which the prime minister responded that the increase should have been proposed while keeping in mind the austerity drive of the federal government and the financial limitations of the country.

The chief minister informed the prime minister that lifetime perks and privileges of the chief minister have already been removed from the bill. He also pledged to review proposed increase in salary and other perks of the provincial legislators as well.

The prime minister directed the chief minister to implement Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf manifesto and vision in the province in true letter and spirit in consultation within the party leadership as well as with the coalition partners. The chief minister reportedly complained about ‘interference’ by some PTI leaders in administrative affairs of the province, to which the prime minister directed him to improve governance while keeping all administrative affairs in his own hands.

The two leaders also discussed political and law and order situation of the province. Progress on different development initiatives was also reviewed, besides overall performance of the provincial cabinet.

Buzdar briefed PM Khan about arrangements done to ensure the best medical facilities for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail.

A day after the bill moved by PTI lawmaker Ghazanfar Abbas was unanimously approved by the Punjab Assembly, Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken to Twitter to express his ‘extreme disappointment’ over the move, saying that it was ‘untenable’ in the current atmosphere when the country “[does] not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people”. In his Twitter message, Imran Khan had said that measures like these would be justified only when the country sees prosperity.

The prime minister, while expressing extreme disappointment over the move, had asked the Punjab governor not to sign the bill. Two days later, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi reviewed the bill and amended a clause that detailed the increase in perks and privileges provided to the lawmakers. The amendment removed the lifetime perks and privileges of the chief minister, leaving intact only ‘suitable and adequate security’.

After the passage of the bill, the speaker’s salary had jumped from Rs 37,000 to Rs 200,000 per month and his deputy would get Rs185,000 instead of Rs 35,000, along with cabinet members and advisers.

Punjab MPAs are now entitled to Rs 80,000 per month rather than Rs 18,000, and their utility bills entitlement has gone up to Rs 200,000 instead of earlier Rs 120,000. This fiscal adjustment had no one to oppose in the House and the bill was passed within a few minutes.

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