KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Friday passed several bills which aim to benefit only the members, increasing 60 percent in salaries and allowances of MPAs and 40 percent for speaker, deputy speaker, ministers and advisors/special assistants.

The bills to increase the salaries and allowances of MPAs, ministers/advisors as well as providing facility of life time security and 75 per cent salary for CM, Speaker and Deputy Speaker were passed with majority vote amid opposition from the MQM, PML-F and NPP lawmakers.

After completing the question-hour and adjournment motion listed in the order of the day, the chair allowed the law minister to table the bill-26, “The Sindh provincial Assembly (Members) Privileges (Amendment) Bill,” which aimed to bring into conformity the privileges of the members of Sindh Assembly with the privileges allowed to the members of Senate, National and other provincial assemblies.

When the bill was under consideration, the opposition MPAs from PML-F and NPP were on their feet demanding the Chair to allow them to move a resolution regarding Sindh’s islands in Karachi being allotted by the federal government to the foreign companies without consulting the Sindh government.

During the protest, opposition and treasury MPAs exchanged harsh words against each other.

Marvi Rashdi, Nusrat Abbasi of PML-F and NPP’s Arif Jatoi staged token walkout against not granting them permission to move a resolution. They returned back in the house and took part in proceedings after awhile.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Sardar Ahmed, PPP’s senior minister Pir Mazharul Haq, PML-F’s Marvi Rashdi and other MPAs while speaking in favour of bill emphasised that the Assembly members’ spouses must be entitled for the privileges suggested for MPAs. 

Later, Pir Mazhar and Sardar moved an amendment, through which spouses of deceased MPAs were incorporated in the bill for entitlement of privileges.

The Sindh Provincial Assembly Members Privileges (amendment) bill was passed into law unanimously.

Through passage of this bill, the former members of the Sindh Assembly shall be entitled to get access to all the government guest houses, rest houses and Sindh House Islamabad and Gawadar at the rates of applicable to government officers on official tours. The former MPAs would also be entitled to a lifetime entry pass for the assembly secretariat, assembly library and speaker’s gallery to observe sessions of the assembly, besides they would be entitled to use VIP lounges at all airports, subject to rules of federal government and for official or gratis passport for self and spouse for life.

The former members would be entitled for issuance and renewal of four weapons licences at fees applicable to government employees.

Later, the Chair allowed the law minister to take up report of the Standing Committee on Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights on four bills pertaining to increase in the salaries, allowances and privileges of MPAs, ministers, advisors/special assistants, speaker and deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly.

The lawmaker moved four bills one by one, while MQM opposed three bills except one bill of increase in salary and lifetime security for the speaker and deputy speaker. The PML-F and NPP MPAs also opposed the increase in the salaries of MPAs, ministers and advisors.

PPP’s Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq told the House that MQM lawmakers were congratulating them on finalising the report on increase in the salaries of MPAs. He said even MQM’s Faisal Sabzwari repeatedly approached him for immediate consideration of this bill to enhance salaries of MPAs as their lawmakers have middle-class background.

Khawaja Izharul Hassan of MQM while replying to PPP’s senior minister said that his party leader Shoaib Bukhari on the floor of the House had opposed the increase in the salaries of MPAs and ministers as inflation and price hike in the daily use items does not suit the Assembly to raise the salaries of MPAs.

MQM’s Dr Sagheer Ahmed also clarified that his party neither support increase in the salaries of lawmakers and ministers nor lifetime security, salary and other facilities for the CM.

Later, Bachal Shah of ruling PPP, who was the chairman of standing committee on law and parliamentary affairs, exhibited the copy of report to the House, saying that this report was prepared unanimously, which carried signatures of PPP, MQM MPAs and PML-F’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi.

But when the report was taken up for consideration, the combined opposition MQM, PML-F and NPP lawmakers opposed increase in salaries and allowances of ministers and advisors and special assistants.

When the law minister moved another bill for increase in the salaries and allowances of special assistants, the PML-F and NPP MPAs again rose on their seats and demanded the Chair to allow them to move a resolution against encroachment on the islands of Sindh but the Chair didn’t heard them.

After staging protest, the PML-F and NPP MPAs led by Jam Madad boycotted the proceedings.

Later, the House passed three government bills-Sindh Special Assistants (Appointment, power, functions, salaries, allowances and privileges) Amendment Bill 2013, Sindh Assembly Members (Salaries and Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill 203 with majority vote and Sindh Assembly Speaker’s and Deputy Speaker’s (Salaries and Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill 2013 unanimously as MQM lawmakers supported the raise in the salaries and privileges of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The report of Standing Committee was adopted by the House through passing four bills into law, under which salaries and allowances of MPAs increased by 60pc and salaries and allowances of speaker, deputy speaker, ministers and special assistants increased by 40 percent which will be effective form July 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, the House also passed a private Bill “Sindh Ministers’ (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) Act 1975” moved by PPP’s MPA Ghulam Mujadid Isran, through which a person who has remained Chief Minister for not less than four years, shall be entitled for lifetime police security, 75 percent of salary and allowances per month, one private secretary of grade-17 to be nominated by him, one driver, one cook, one gardener and one sanitary worker, besides he shall be entitled of landline and mobile phone facility up to Rs10,000 per month. The MQM opposed the bill but PPP passed it with majority vote.

Meanwhile, Dr Sikandar Mandhro of ruling PPP moved a private bill “Sindh Speaker’s and Deputy Speaker’s (Salaries, Allowances, and Privileges) Act 1975”, carrying same facilities suggested for the chief minister including lifetime security, 75 percent salary and other privileges, was adopted by the house unanimously as MQM supported it. Later, chief minister, speaker and lawmakers from MQM and PPP congratulated and praised each others’ role in completing the government and assembly’s tenure smoothly.

Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro after his remarks praised the role of all lawmakers especially the female lawmakers, who actively participated in proceedings of the House said that today could be the last of the sitting of the assembly.

Later, he read out the governor’s order prorogued the assembly for indefinite period.