PESHAWAR - Despite receiving Rs93,000 per month in term of salary privileges along with fuel allowance of Rs120,000, Provincial Minister for Industry Shaukat Yousafzi’s excuse regarding financial crisis for non-payment of Sui-gas bill is just a drama and tantamount to befool the masses. Interestingly, how he managed his expenses when he was not a minister and was journalist in a local Urdu Daily. He was hardly getting fifty thousand rupees in the previous job but never become defaulter in that job but after getting a place in the provincial cabinet and addicted to handsome packages, Shaukat Yousafzai is now excusing that he could not afford his expenses. Is it is possible for a serving minister?Recently the PTI-led provincial government along with opposition members unanimously passed a bill for increasing the perks and privileges of the assembly members. According to this increase, their monthly salaries have been raised from Rs36,000 to 93,000, their travelling allowances from Rs40,000 per annum to Rs120,000 per annum, telephone allowances from Rs5,000 per month to Rs10,000 per month, sumptuary allowance from Rs5,000 per month to Rs10,000, utility allowance from Rs3,000 per month to Rs4,800 per month whereas office maintenance allowance would remain static at Rs10,000 per month.Besides, two new allowances have also been approved for the MPAs. Each one of the 124 members of the provincial assembly would get an amount of Rs30, 000 per month as house rent and another amount of Rs9,000 per month as medical allowance. They would continue to receive accommodation allowance of Rs1,600 per diem whereas their session allowance of Rs1,000 per diem has been proposed after changes in their pay structure.But ironically said that after disconnection of gas supply to the house of provincial minister, he started making hue and cry about severe financial crunch. According to the minister, he had to owe some arrears of his school going children in term of school fee, which made him defaulter. “I was facing financial problems at home and I had to choose between defaulting on the payment and having my children thrown out of school. So I preferred to become a defaulter for the sake of my kid’s future,” said the minister in his explanation. Soon after his remarks in which he demonstrated himself as extremely poor, Ibrar Hussain who is chief executive of a local NGO “Zama Welfare Trust”, said that if the minister was not getting his salary and was in serious economic problems, then they are ready to pay his dues. However, when this scribe informed Ibrar Hussain regarding salary and other perks and privileges, he declared that the minister did not deserve of any concession and he must pay his bill from his own expenses. The SNGPL authorities has confirmed that the minister is defaulter of Rs29,000 in term of Sui gas bill for the house which is located at Gulbahar and said that until payment of bill, his gas connection would not be restored. In fact, the minister has tried to befool the masses and media through his remarks because if he could not manage his expenses then how can a poor person getting 200 daily wages afford his routine expenses in this price hike era. The minister has several times pledged that he would establish new industrial estates in the province and will ensure gas supply to them. The question is how it will be possible for him to ensure gas supply to these industrial units when he failed to keep up uninterrupted supply of gas to his small house.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 25-Apr-2014 here.