ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday showed his serious reservations over the performance of the Punjab government and the recent increase in the salaries and perks of the Punjab Assembly lawmakers.

The prime minister took the issue when Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar called on him here.

However, the ruling PTI through an official announcement only said that CM Punjab Usman Buzdar called on PM Imran Khan at his office in Islamabad.

Though no official word came from the government about the agenda of the meeting yet, the official sources within PTI confirmed the PM had summoned CM Buzdar seeking an explanation over the performance of PTI government in Punjab and regarding the salaries bill recently passed by the Punjab Assembly.

The political and administrative matters of the province also came under discussion and according to the PTI sources the PM was dissatisfied with the performance of CM Buzdar.

Iftikhar Durrani, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Media, told The Nation that he was unaware of the agenda of the meeting because it was a one-on-one meeting.

Govt to spend Rs100b per annum for 10 years in tribal areas

Last week, the Punjab Assembly had passed the bill approving an increase in the salaries and other perks and privileges of the Punjab assembly members, speaker, deputy speaker, ministers, and the chief minister. The bill approved a six-fold increase in the salary of the chief minister, three-fold for the speaker, deputy speaker and ministers and a two-fold for MPAs, besides enhancing their perks.

The next day, the prime minister had taken to Twitter to express his “extreme disappointment” over the move, saying that it was “untenable” in the present circumstances.

“I am extremely disappointed by the decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays and privileges of MPAs, ministers and especially CM. Once prosperity returns to Pakistan such a move could be justified, but now, when we don’t have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable,” the PM had said.

The bill increases speaker’s salary from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000 per month and deputy speaker’s from Rs35,000 to Rs185,000  and similarly cabinet members and advisors. The MPAs would get Rs80,000 per month rather than Rs18,000 and their utility bills entitlement was increased to Rs200,000 instead of earlier Rs120,000.

After the public denouncement of PM, the provincial government said it would amend the bill seeking deletion of the clause regarding the lifetime perks and privileges of the chief minister. The bill had approved a facility of life-time residence in Lahore for any former CM Punjab besides provision of luxury vehicle, servants, and security.

10-year package for FATA

Prime Minister Imran Khan said that with the government planning to spend over Rs100 billion per annum for ten years in the tribal districts, people in tribal areas would see unprecedented development in tribal areas.

“Living up to our commitment, a 3-week consultative process on 10-year Development Plan for former FATA is being initiated, starting from Bajaur,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

“Our people in the tribal area will see unprecedented development as government plans to spend over Rs100 billion annually for 10 years in tribal districts,” he said.

PM for enhanced Centre-Sindh cooperation

Prime Minister Imran Khan also called for enhanced cooperation between the Center and Sindh to ensure the success of public-welfare projects initiated by the federal government in Karachi.

He said the development projects initiated by the federal government in Sindh, particularly in Karachi, were aimed at helping the provincial government in addressing the problems of masses.

The Prime Minister expressed these views while chairing a meeting here to review the progress on the federal government’s development projects in Karachi, including the Green Line project.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Iftikhar Durrani, Prime Minister’s Spokesman Nadeem Afzal Chan, secretaries Finance, Planning and Cabinet, Chief Secretary Sindh, Chief Executive Officer of KIDC Saleh Farooqui and others attended the meeting.

The meeting was given a detailed briefing about the progress and functioning of the Green Line project. Other projects under the Karachi package were also reviewed.

The prime minister said the element of environment should be kept in mind in all the development projects of big cities like Karachi.

He said long-term planning should be done to address the issues faced by the people of Karachi, including that of growing population and the environmental problem, so as not only to find a solution of problems relating to the population but also ensure the protection of continuously decreasing green areas.