Islamabad, Nov. 20: The Jamaat-e-Islami, which is locked in a confrontation with the pro-Musharraf ruling coalition, has turned down the recent 130 per cent increase in the salaries of MPs as “political gratification”.
While most members in the 342-member National Assembly accepted the raise, Jamaat chief Qazi Hussein Ahmed informed the assembly secretariat that he would forego the revised monetary benefits alongwith his colleague in the Senate, Khursheed Ahmed.
The adoption of the government-sponsored resolution means that salaries of members of parliament will now go up from Rs 17,500 to Rs 38,000 per month with allowances for utilities and maintenance of offices.
Though most legislators, including those from the Opposition welcomed the move, Qazi Hussein Ahmed rejected it saying it was “shameful to accept such massive monetary benefits in a situation where the public representatives virtually did nothing in the parliament”.
“We disapprove the unprecedented increase in salaries and perks, which will put an additional burden on the national exchequer,” Khursheed Ahmed said.
“There is no justification to increase allowances as most of the members are millionaires,” he said.
The finance ministry has allocated Rs 150 million as arrears for the last four months, bringing the monthly average for this period to a whopping Rs 320,000.
A spokesperson for the party, which is a member of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a six-party religious alliance, said said it was trying to persuade alliance partners to reject the raise.
The issue is likely to come up for discussion at the MMA’s meeting in Islamabad.
“We also take exception to the impending purchase of 24 new cars for chairmen of standing committees of the Parliament, the spokesman said.