Efforts underway to resolve Centre-KP aid money row


Provincial govt will settle for nothing less than 50% share as US provided funds are solely for developing terror-hit areas of KP, FATA
Efforts are underway to amicably resolve the issue of the distribution of funds granted by the US to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has publicly denounced the 11 percent funds share allocated to it by the federal government, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to provincial government sources, Islamabad and the KP government had initiated negotiations both at government and political levels, and the talks had shown positive indications of the issue being resolved in a manner acceptable to both governments.
“The federal government is seriously considering the demand of KP government to raise its share from the current 11 percent. However, the central government is unlikely to grant the 80 percent increase demanded by our government last month,” a source privy to the ongoing talks informed Pakistan Today.
He said the KP government was still pressing for a greater share, and would settle for nothing less than 50 percent. Giving the reason, the source argued, “The Kerry-Lugar Bill is meant for developing the terrorism-hit parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. But contrary to the spirit of this US assistance programme, the Economic Affairs Division had allocated only $124 million out of the total grant of $1.5 billion, the first yearly installment.”
The top leadership of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP) are discussing the issue to overcome the differences between the KP government and Islamabad.
Talking exclusively to this scribe, ANP Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel said, “The issue is still under debate but we are hopeful of getting a greater share.”
He indicated that the central government was giving serious thought to increasing KP’s share of funds granted under the Kerry-Lugar Bill up to 50 percent, but it was yet to be finalised in the ongoing talks.
The KP Cabinet had rejected the share allocated in the yearly installment of the US financial assistance programme, which is non-military civilian aid.
However, Islamabad was yet to confirm whether the province’s share would indeed be increased.