PTI’s disgruntled legislators say funds are being concentrated in four districts while poor districts like Shangla, Kohistan and Malakand are being ignored
Dissent was once again witnessed in the ranks of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as one member of the provincial cabinet complained of injustice with his constituency, while four others staged a walkout from the House after the speaker refused to give them the floor.
The KP Assembly on Friday resumed debate on the annual budget for Financial Year 2016-17 with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair.
The opposition legislators who participated in the debate during the second day of discussion on the budget included Sardar Hussain Babak of ANP, Sahibzada Sanaullah, Syed Sardar Hussain and Fakhar-e-Azam of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Raja Faisal Zaman of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Mufti Fazal Ghafoor of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). Senior Minister for Local Governments and Rural Development (LG&RD) Inayatullah Khan and Education Minister Mohammad Atif Khan responded to the opposition legislators’ questions.
FUNDS BEING CONCENTRATED IN FOUR DISTRICTS:
While the opposition legislators in their speeches have criticised the provincial government for cut in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) and receipts under the heads of taxes and non taxes, a hard hitting speech from a treasury bench legislator, Mohammad Shakeel Khan came as a surprise.
Mohammad Shakeel Khan is PTI MPA from district Malakand is also special assistant to CM on Population Welfare.
Shakeel Khan criticised the budget and ‘the concentrating of funds on the four districts of Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi and Dir’. He said that poverty and other problems are not limited to only four districts. Shangla, Kohistan and Malakand are also poor district in the province.
He said that compared to the four districts, District Malakand has been allocated very few funds for development in all its sectors. He demanded that constituencies ignored in the past should be granted maximum development funds.
‘PTI NOT BEING TRUE TO ITS CALLING’:
He said that the people of the province had voted PTI into power in KP for bringing change and eradicating corruption. He said that while health, education and other reforms were steps in the right direction, the PTI had been lacking in the accountability department.
The special assistant said that the top offices of both the anti-graft agencies in the province including the posts of the director generals (DG) of Ehtesab Commission and Anti-Corruption Establishment are vacant. He gave an ultimatum of two months to the provincial government for starting the accountability process. Otherwise, he said, after the expiry of the deadline, he will be left with no reason to remain in the provincial cabinet.
PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN HYDEL POWER GENERATION:
In response to the speech of Sardar Hussain Babak of ANP, Provincial Minister for Education, Energy and Power Mohammad Atif Khan said that for the first time in the history of the province, the private sector is being involved in hydel power generation. He said that private investors are going to invest Rs 1.5 billion for installation of hydel projects with a combined output of 518 MW of electricity.
He also clarified the situation about the converting of Maktab Schools and establishment of smart schools in the province. He said that smart schools will be pre-fabricated and economical as compared to the resources it takes to construct buildings for schools. He rejected the impression that the contract for the schools had been awarded to a PTI supporter.
He said that the contract for the construction of smart schools will be given through open tender and all the stakeholders will be invited to participate. In case of any complaint the contracts will be cancelled.
After the speech of Maulana Fazal Ghafoor, Yasin Khalil and Qurban Ali of the PTI also attempted to speak, but the speaker did not give them the floor, which prompted them to stage a walkout from the House.
The legislators of the joint opposition also joined the PTI legislators in their protest and walkout from the House.