LAHORE, Aug 7: Legislators of the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid in Punjab on Tuesday rejected Rs20 million development funds for the constituency of each of them announced by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
The legislators of both parties have said they will not accept the ‘meagre’ amount until another Rs80 million or so are released.
During a meeting with the premier last week in Lahore, the PPP and PML-Q had requested him for immediate release of at least Rs100 million development funds for each MPA’s constituency. The prime minister had assured them that MPs of both parties would be given equal funds.
The PPP members are of the view that they have been denied development funds by the Punjab government for the last couple of years and now with Rs20 million at their disposal, they cannot initiate a solid development project in their constituencies.
The PML-Q members, whose number is at present around 40 after defection of its 44 or so members to the PML-N, are equally unhappy, saying they have been denied even Rs8 million of the ADP during the last four and a half years.
“We were expecting Rs100-150 million from Mr Ashraf but are disappointed to hear about only Rs20 million,” a PML-Q MPA said.
PPP Punjab deputy parliamentary leader Shaukat Basra told Dawn that the MPAs would take up the matter with President Zardari and PM Ashraf and request them for release of at least Rs100 million more for each MPA.
“As the next general election is approaching, Rs20 million are not enough for development works in a constituency,” he said.
Mr Basra said the Punjab government had sanctioned up to Rs200 million for each PML-N and PML-Q forward bloc MPA whereas the federal government during the last four years only gave Rs50 million to its MPAs. He said in the constituencies of PPP MPAs several development projects had come to a halt because the Punjab government withheld the remaining funds.
“In my constituency, Haroonabad, a sewerage and a gymnasium project could not be completed because the Punjab government had stopped funding after we were forced to leave the government early last year,” he said and alleged that Shahbaz Sharif had even sanctioned huge funds for Ijazul Haq only in his opposition to Basra.
PML-Q MPA Chaudhry Abdullah Yousuf told this correspondent that with Rs20 million even a small development project could not be initiated. “Some 180 villages fall in my constituency in Gujrat and at least Rs100 million to Rs150 million are required for some important road and sewerage works there,” he said.
Mr Yousuf said he would talk to his party leadership to convey the concerns of the party MPAs to the premier and also press him to increase the development funds to their (MPAs’) satisfaction.