National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi has claimed that the country’s legislators are paid less than their counterparts in India, Bangladesh and other South Asian states.
Pushing for more perks and privileges for MNAs, he said that their basic salary and expenses were insufficient and were barely enough to maximise their capacity as lawmakers of the country.
“They should be given independent offices with necessary administrative staff to discharge their responsibilities as lawmakers if you want to build their capacity,” he said.
About the competence of lawmakers from Fata, the deputy speaker said that all of them participated in the legislation process in the assembly.
“For building the capacity of MNAs, an increase in monthly salary and allowances will be helpful,” Kundi stressed.
Kundi admitted that packs of budget-related documents presented to MNAs by the finance ministry every year during the budget session are not properly utilised by legislators.
He also said that annual reports by the Auditor General of Pakistan were submitted to the National Assembly every year but there was never any debate on them. “I don’t know” was his reply when asked why audit reports were not debated in the National Assembly. “I think that audit reports should be discussed in the National Assembly to ensure accountability of all those who are ruling the country in one way or another,” he remarked.
The constitution requires the auditor general to lay his reports before parliament which, he said, is being implemented. He added however, that for the first time a report prepared by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee was debated in the House.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.