Islamabad: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan delivers policy statement on Pulwama attack, in Islamabad, Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019. (PID/PTI Photo) (PTI2_19_2019_000174B) Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted about his serious disappointment over the decision by the Punjab Assembly to raise salaries of lawmakers in the province of Punjab.

Khan said on Twitter: “I am extremely disappointed by decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays and privileges of MPAs [Members of the Provincial Assembly], ministers and especially CM [Chief Minister].”

He added that such moves were “untenable” when the country could not provide basic amenities to its citizens.

Rushing through

The manner in which the bill was passed also raised concerns. According to news website Geo News, the legislation was passed unanimously within 24 hours of the bill being tabled. The only member who did not vote for the bill was Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary leader Hasan Murtaza. A standing committee also gave its approval within a few minutes of discussion.

Huge perks

The legislation makes Punjab’s lawmakers the highest paid in Pakistan. According to Pakistani media reports, Punjab’s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would now draw a monthly salary of Rs350,000 [Dh 9,192] and members’ salary would be over Rs200,000 [Dh 5,252] while previously it was Rs83,000.

Support

The Prime Minister’s tweet received a lot of support from online social media users who praised him for caring about the common man.

Tweep @AbdulLa72222512 wrote: “Absolutely sir! When Pakistan comes back on track, after that their salaries should be raised but in the current situation, Pakistan is facing some serious economical problems.”

Others called for action. Tweep @SajjadullahMoh2 wrote in Urdu, urging the leader to take action against the move and set a precedent.

What next?

Some Twitter users, however, questioned how lawmakers could legally take such moves, along with the Prime Minister’s ability to control such behaviour and what could be done to undo it.

Tweep @hrehman_94 wrote: “What can you do? What good is this type of democracy when a PM can’t reprimand any CM of Provinces or Chairman NAB [National Accountability Bureau] or Chairman Senate or Speakers of Assemblies or Judges?”