Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly ordered Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to prepare a sum of Rs 300 billion for development schemes at the constituencies of the ruling party’s MNAs in a bid to secure their re-election in the next general election.
The decision was made during the ruling party’s meeting and was attended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) senior leadership including Finance Minister Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Hamza Shahbaz Sharif.
During the meeting the PM received the detailed briefing on how to strengthen constituencies of party’s sitting Members of National Assembly (MNA) across the country. The premier also took the participants onboard on former military ruler General Pervez Mushrraf’s exit from the country.
Some of the party leaders were of the view that the federal government’s initiatives – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, LNG deal, power projects and health and education programmes – were enough for the party’s victory in the next polls.
However, the party lawmakers highlighted the importance of constituency politics and urged that the party should focus on Punjab and its 20 constituencies in the rest of the country to ensure its victory.
The leaders urged the prime minister to allocate around Rs1 billion to each of the PML-N’s National Assembly lawmaker for the fiscal year 2016-2017. They said the same amount should also be given to respective lawmakers in the next fiscal year, which will be the last financial year before the 2018 general elections.
The prime minister agreed with their point of view and asked Dar to immediately arrange around Rs300 billion for development schemes at the constituencies.
A few lawmakers reminded Nawaz of the Supreme Court ruling which bars the prime minister from allocating any development schemes for the party lawmakers. Out of the Rs20 billion annual allocation for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Community Development Programme, an amount of Rs19 billion has been handed over to parliamentarians for their uplift schemes.
The federal government has diverted Rs10.4 billion of the Rs19 billion disbursements to Punjab to enable the PML-N lawmakers to carry out development schemes in their constituencies.
The prime minister was quite satisfied with the situation following Musharraf’s exit and said the party had succeeded in coming out of a pressure particularly in Punjab after the former president’s departure to Dubai.