Pakistan Muslim League-N leaders still enjoying ministerial perks

Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: The top eight federal ministers of the PML-N, even after tendering their resignations last month from the Gilani cabinet as a protest against restoration of judges, still continue to quietly enjoy all the perks and privileges available to the ministers under government rules.

These ministers are using these facilities on the pretext that their resignations were not accepted by the prime minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani and no notification was issued to complete the formalities. So, these ministers claimed that they were still the cabinet ministers and eligible for the official perks, particularly the official residences.

Even, some ministers were having two official residences-one at parliament lodges and the other at the Minister Enclaves. Under the rules, the minister or MNA can retain only one government accommodation.

Except the federal minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, rest of the eight ministers were given official houses in the Ministersي Enclave. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was receiving the monthly rent of 7Rs5,000 per month as rent as he was not shifted to the Ministersي Colony and preferred to stay at his house in Rawalpindi. Under the law, if a minister does not reside in an official house, then he may receive house rent to the tune of Rs75,000 per month.

Meanwhile, it has been officially confirmed to The News that the eight big houses given to the federal ministers of PML-N were in the possession of these ministers, who had resigned last month but they did not vacate these houses despite tendering their resignations to the prime minister.

An official of the ministry of housing and works confirmed that the ministry had allotted eight houses to the ministers from the PML-N and so far they all were in the possession of these houses. The official said, although they had resigned from the cabinet but so far no official communication was made to the housing ministry that they had vacated their houses. ىIn our official record, still these houses are in the possession of these federal ministers,î said the official.

Meanwhile, sources said, the ministers of PML-Nawaz were still using all the official benefits available to the ministers. Even the personal staff made available to them was still working with them and their services were being properly used but in public they were giving the impression as they had left the government and were not receiving the perks and privileges as a protest against Asif Zardariيs refusal to honour his commitment to restore the judges.

Talking to The News, Tehmina Daultna confirmed from Lahore that she was still using the official residence allotted to her in the Ministers Enclave. She said, ىI am still the minister as my resignation has not been accepted by the president so there is no any violation as generally being perceived.î When asked whether she was still drawing the salary from the government account as the minister, she did not give any definite reply. But, she claimed that whenever she travelled between Lahore and Islamabad, she was buying the tickets from her own pocket.

Although, under the perks, even MNAs were given the travel vouchers by the Parliament. Tehimna also admitted that sometime her official staff do visit her to get some guidelines or other matters concerning her. This correspondent tried to get the point of views of the PML-N ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Ishaq Dar and Khwaja Saad Rafiq but their mobile phones were found switched off.

Source: The News, 26/6/2008

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