KP lawmaker protests by ‘whistling’ against release of funds



PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Monday witnessed a unique method of protest by former provincial minister Amjad Afridi who used a whistle to record his dissent against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf-led (PTI) coalition government for not releasing funds in oil and gas royalties.

The house resumed proceedings after a long break of three weeks with Deputy Speaker Dr Meher Taj Roghani in the chair.

The treasury bench lawmakers recalled that Afridi had recorded his protest on the floor of the house seven months ago, and the speaker had ruled that the funds will be released. The funds were, however, not released, adding to the frustration of Afridi.

The protesting legislator whistled several times and also shouted that how will the provincial government “bring change through stoppage of the release of the funds of an elected MPA”.

The joint opposition in the house also joined Afridi in his protest and demanded the opening of the microphone of the protesting legislator to raise his voice, but in a bid to save the government from embarrassment, the deputy speaker adjourned the proceeding at 3:00 PM.

Later, talking to media, Amjad Afridi said that the KP government had failed to release even a single penny out of Rs2.4 billion in oil and gas royalty funds of Kohat division for the year 2015-16. Similarly, he said that out of about Rs2 billion, the government during the financial year 2016-17 had released only Rs560 million while for 2017-18 the government had released only Rs730 million.

He alleged that KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak was giving development funds to his Advisor Ziaullah Bangash and depriving the people of his constituency of development schemes.

Earlier, questions regarding minimum wages of labourers and technical education were referred to committees concerned and one question regarding excise and taxation was deferred as the movers were not satisfied by the written reply of the departments.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali of Jamaat-e-Islami withdrew his question in protest and said that he had put up this question two years ago but the concerned industries and commerce department failed to reply on time.