Law on privileges for MPs sparks protest

NIELI (Pajhwok): Dozens of civil society and political activists, including women, on Thursday staged a protest against the approval of a draft law allowing parliamentarians to enjoy certain privileges even after completing their tenure.
Earlier in the week, the Wolesi Jirga approved the draft law permitting lower house members to draw 25 percent of their salaries, keep two security guards and enjoy certain other privileges. 
An MP draws 195,000 afghanis in salary. With the endorsement of the draft, each lawmaker will get 49,000 afghanis a month even after retirement.
The protesters said MPs had committed an act of treason by approving the draft law aimed at their own aggrandisement. They appealed President Hamid Karzai not to endorse the legislative measure.
Hadi Rahimzada, the provincial council secretary, slammed the draft law a shameful act. People were expecting honest efforts from their representatives to end the political impasse, but they were driven by self-interest, he regretted.
The Meshrano Jirga -- or upper house of parliament -- rejected on Tuesday a draft law allowing parliamentarians to take advantage of certain privileges even after completing their tenure. 

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