Slogans for profit... By Maida
18 March, 2013
'Roti, kapra aur makan' (food, clothing and shelter) for all — this was the vision of the pioneer of the PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It was a legacy carried forward by his daughter Benazir Bhutto and it seemed that it would continue to be passed on from one generation to the next. However, any hopes that this slogan would one day pertain to the common man were shattered when the Sindh Assembly met for its last sitting on Friday March 15, 2013. It appears, as if the PPP had been waiting for the last meeting of the assembly so that they could pass bills that would give them a lifetime of perks and privileges or, maybe, just out of sheer boredom, they passed more than half a dozen bills in parliament. Under these bills, the pays and allowances of the legislators will be increased by up to 60 percent and, what is more is that these changes are effective from July 2011. Not only do these bills call for increases in their allowances but also include gas, electricity, mobile phone and office maintenance allowances. This generosity of our legislators did not end here but, in fact, also extended to bestow these privileges to former MPAs and the spouses of those who are deceased.
Despite the walkout from the opposition, the bills were passed with a majority. It appeared as though the people did not have any representative among the legislators who moved these bills in parliament. The PPP was made to advocate the rights of the common man. It was made to ensure that the common man received the basic necessities of life. Instead, they were more concerned in ensuring that they played their last game right because this would ensure their privileged future. If, for the PPP, the definition of a 'common man' is a member of the provincial assembly, then it has finally lived up to the slogan that it stands for. Food, clothing and shelter, in complete grandeur, are being provided to the 'common man' or the MPAs of the Sindh Assembly. These people are, according to our law minister, “MPAs belonging to middle-class families who cannot make ends meet on Rs 41,000 per month”. Only once in five years, we get the power to change thing; let us ensure that this time we have representatives who indisputably stand up for the common man.