Privileges for parliamentarians

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A bill moved in the Senate by the treasury benches seeks to
allow spouses and children, up to 18 years, of all the members of Parliament to annually utilise 25 business class air tickets, which are primarily meant to facilitate the MPs to attend the session. In addition to these 25 business class air tickets, every member of Parliament is also provided vouchers of the value of Rs300,000 every year to enable them to travel at any time without payment of any fare by PIA or Pakistan Railways.
The travel facility and other perks given to the parliamentarians are aimed at facilitating their movement and ensuring their comfort so that they could perform their responsibilities as elected member and lawmaker with ease of mind. If a member is not required to undertake travel to attend sessions of the parliament or interact with his/her constituents then propriety demands he/she should not claim the benefit. Therefore, encashment of vouchers or extension of the service to family members is not understandable. Otherwise too, majority of those making their way to the assemblies belong to well-to-do class and availing of these benefits makes not much difference for them. It is also regrettable that the Government has moved the bill at a time when it has denied any increase to its employees and pensioners, who are also hard pressed because of inflation and the situation arising out of Covid-19, on the pretext of curtailing and controlling non-developmental budget. The application of strategy of checking the non-developmental budget smacks of discrimination as influential classes are being doled out perks and privileges at the cost of under-privileged segments of the society. A few months back, there was a move to hike salaries and allowances of MPs up to four hundred per cent, which was scuttled due to opposition by major parties. We hope the Prime Minister would review the decision as this would send wrong signals to the government employees and the general public. Why MPs should not contribute in austerity drive?