Gilani shrugs off Pak's economic hardship, doubles MNA's fund

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Peshawar, June 30 (ANI): In the times when Pakistan is facing severe economic hardships, the country's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has given a whopping windfall to all the lower house members by doubling their annual development fund to 20 million rupees.

He gave no reason for the hike, and made a single sentence announcement before the 19-day budget session.

"I announce to double the MNAs' fund of one crore rupees," the Dawn quoted Gilani, as telling the National Assembly on Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear if the 100 per cent increase in the fund would apply also to the 100 members of the Senate, who until now had been on a par with their lower house counterparts for these allocations.

The practice, continuing since late 1980s, has often been described by critics as a kind of political bribe to lawmakers.

However, former PM Shaukat Aziz stopped giving funds to the opponents of military president Pervez Musharraf.

Although the hike was greeted with desk-thumping from both ruling coalition and opposition, many questions are likely to be raised about the jurisdiction of such a move by Gilani when Pakistan was facing financial stringency.

The new move was neither mentioned by the government in the fiscal budget nor was it asked for in budget debates. (ANI)

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