Pakistan’s new President Zardari to not take salary; cites economic hardship of people

Former president Arif Alvi was drawing Rs 8,46,550 per month, which was fixed by Parliament in 2018

March 13, 2024 09:34 am | Updated 09:35 am IST - Islamabad

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, right, administers the oath of office to newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 10, 2024.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, right, administers the oath of office to newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari during a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

Pakistan’s newly-elected President Asif Ali Zardari on March 13 announced that he would not draw any salary during his tenure as part of his bid to help the cash-strapped country face the challenging economic hardship.

Mr. Zardari, 68, who took oath as Pakistan's 14th President on Sunday, decided to encourage prudent financial management and not burden the national exchequer, his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said in a statement on X.

“The President considered it essential not to burden the national exchequer and preferred to forgo his salary,” President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release on Tuesday.

Also Read | New Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif orders ‘immediate’ talks with IMF for extended facility for ailing economy

Former president Arif Alvi was drawing Rs 8,46,550 per month, which was fixed by Parliament in 2018. Mr. Zardari is one of the richest politicians in Pakistan.

Mr. Zardari, co-chairman of the PPP, took oath as President of Pakistan for a second term at a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on Sunday.

Separately, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, following the steps of Mr. Zardari, also decided to forego his salary while in office citing the economic challenges faced by the country.

Taking to X, Mr. Naqvi said that he committed to serving the nation in challenging times "in every possible way".

Mr. Naqvi said that he has decided to forego his salary during the tenure. "In these challenging times, committed to supporting and serving our nation in every possible way,” he said in an X post.

Debt-struck Pakistan has been reeling under economic pressure with the price of commodities touching sky-high prices.

The newly elected government needs a new loan from the International Monetary Fund on an urgent basis, and its politicians, who are often super-rich, use such tactics to win support from the impoverished masses.

In February last year, the Cabinet of then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif gave up their salary and other perks to help the country tackle its possible default on external liabilities.

Addressing the maiden cabinet meeting after inducting 19 members on Monday, Prime Minister Sharif said that the first test of the cash-strapped country's newly-elected government is to rein in inflation and prices of food items.

Mr. Sharif, who was elected for a second term on Sunday, said that bringing inflation under control is the biggest challenge, however, the government together with the provincial administrations would consider ways how to manage the prices of the essentials.

“This is our first test,” he said.

Mr. Sharif said Pakistan is facing massive challenges and a “deep surgery” is required to pull the cash-strapped country out of the economic crisis.

Taking stock of the issues and problems affecting the economy and the country, the Prime Minister asked his Cabinet members to “perform or perish”, saying that the time is “now or never”.

Mr. Sharif said the government should make difficult decisions without wasting any time. “Deep surgery is needed as antibiotics will not work,” he said.

Also Read | Ensure Pakistan does not divert loans to foot defence bills: India to IMF

He directed the immediate formation of a committee to control the prices of essential food items.

He emphasised that strict action would be taken against unjustified price increases and profiteering in essential commodities.

In response to a recommendation by the Ministry of Commerce, the Cabinet also approved a restriction on the export of onions and bananas until the 15th of next month.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.