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Austerity & legislators’ perks

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AS the date for the annual budget presentation in parliament approached against the backdrop of the deepening economic crisis, the salaries and perks enjoyed by state functionaries came under renewed discussion and scrutiny. Sensing the public mood, the chair of at least one Senate standing committee voluntarily surrendered the petrol allowance for his state-provided vehicle for the next six months. Will or should other legislators follow suit?

Contrary to general perceptions, our national and provincial legislators — with the exception of Balochistan MPAs — are not so well paid if we compare their salaries and perks to senior officials in the executive and judicial branches of the country. In most cases, it may be challenging to slash their wages in the wake of rising inflation. Still, there are several perks for members of the federal and provincial cabinets, such as the aforementioned petrol allowances, which have either already been cut or are being considered for significant reductions.

While discussing the salaries and perks of legislators, it is essential to bear in mind that, though being a legislator is not exactly a nine-to-five job, it is no more a part-time responsibility. In fact, a legislator’s duties relating to the legislature, their constituency, parliamentary party and other aspects are nothing less than a full-time job. Therefore, it is only fair to compare their compensation package to what senior officials in the executive and judicial branches receive.

Both senators and members of the National Assembly (MNAs) are currently paid a monthly salary of Rs150,000. If we add their regular monthly allowances, the total monthly........

© Dawn

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