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Asif seeks details of salaries drawn by PTI lawmakers during 2014 sit-in

Asif seeks details of salaries drawn by PTI lawmakers during 2014 sit-in

ISLAMABAD: Newly-appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has sought details of salaries and allowances and perks drawn by members of the National Assembly belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during the period of their resignation in 2014.

The details have been sought under the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 (XCVI of 2002) through a letter addressed to National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

The minister also sought the member-wise comparative statement in respect of the period containing all types of payments admissible for being a legislator and the amount drawn and deposited in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The letter asked whether the PTI lawmakers had deposited in the PM fund the whole amount of their salaries, including allowances/perks, drawn during that period.

Thirty of the 34 PTI lawmakers had submitted their resignations on Aug 22, 2014 — during the party’s sit-in outside the Parliament House — demanding a judicial inquiry into alleged rigging in the 2013 elections. They remained absent from parliament till January 2015 when they returned to the national and provincial assemblies after a successful dialogue with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

Upon their return they were paid the ceased salaries of five months.

However, two key allies of Imran Khan who were participating in his ‘Azadi march’ — Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and independent MNA Jamshed Dasti — did not tender their resignations.

The issue had been tactfully handled by the NA speaker who delayed the matter under the pretext of individual verification of the resignation.

The issue of salaries and perks and privileges of the PTI MNAs had been raised by many in and outside parliament during that time as well. Some media reports suggested that an amount of Rs20 million drawn as salaries during the five-month sit-in had been deposited by the PTI lawmakers in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. The PTI chairman had reportedly donated his five-month salary to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2017

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