Prime Minister Imran Khan’s criticism of the bill adopted unanimously by the Punjab Assembly has been received well by the members of the assembly. The immediate step which has been taken so far is the removal of lifetime facilities to any serving Chief Minister of the province beyond his or her tenure. At this point, all the clauses except for the additional safety measures offered to the CM are being reconsidered.

Heeding to his word and rolling back the benefits is a good step which the Prime Minister must be congratulated for but the amendments being considered should go beyond just one appointed person. All the elected members of the assembly should be involved in the debate and the bill should be reconsidered altogether. Taking away only the Chief Minister’s privileges will not have the same impact as collectively deciding what privileges all elected members should and should not get.

PM Khan is right in pointing out that the economy cannot afford to dole out such privileges at this point. If you look at the budget presented by the government and the economic policies being pursued at the time, there is barely any space within the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to work on human development. All the money coming into the system at this point is via investments and bilateral agreements with allies of the country. With the domestic industry and its slow pace of innovation, the members elected by the people should share the burden of the economy with the country. Austerity should not just be a rhetorical conjecture; rather it ought to be an inclusive strategy adopted by the government, both federal and provincial, at all levels through and through.

The bill should be once again brought to the assembly to be discussed in entirety-a single person should not face the brunt of a policy devised by all.