The recently-concluded Senate election created much fuss in the federal capital Islamabad on Wednesday when the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) joint candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, defeated the Finance Minister, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, in the biggest political upset for Prime Minister Imran Khan.
While the PDM parties celebrate it as a major victory, the government cries foul and calls it a ‘victory of money.’ A day before the election, videos were making rounds on social media where Gillani’s son, Ali Haider Gillani, could be seen offering tips to MNAs on how to waste their vote in the Senate elections.
But what is so important about a Senate seat that makes these candidates pay billions of rupees to get one? The answer is power and all the perks and allowances that come with the Upper House membership.
A Senator has access to all the perks and privileges enjoyed by National Assembly members. Not only that, the basic salary of a Senator is Rs. 150,000 a month, and a lot of their daily expenses are compensated by the state.
Besides their basic salary, a Senator receives an amount of Rs. 8,000 as office allowance, Rs. 10,000 per month as telephone allowance and Rs. 15,000 a month as ad hoc relief allowance. Moreover, they also get vouchers annually worth Rs. 300,000, which can be cashed for Rs. 90,000 if not used.
Another major privilege for Senators is the Blue passport and 25 business-class open air tickets, which can be used by the members or their families. They are also offered an air-conditioned class and second-class fair allowance in the form of a travel stipend.
Their travel allowance is calculated as Rs. 150 per kilometer for business class air travel, and Rs. 10 per kilometer for a road trip. Free telephone service is also available at their residences.
On top of that, Senators also get Rs. 2,800 for General Daily Allowance, Rs. 4,800 for Special Daily Allowance, Rs. 2,000 for Convention Allowance and Rs. 2,000 for House Allowance. Other benefits including free medical care equivalent to a Grade 22 officer are beside that.
Via: Express Tribune