KP seeks Rs50bn from centre for security needs

Published March 24, 2014
Since Khyber Pakhtunkhwa didn’t have an ample fiscal space to provide the funds, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak made a formal request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this regard. — File photo
Since Khyber Pakhtunkhwa didn’t have an ample fiscal space to provide the funds, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak made a formal request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this regard. — File photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has sought Rs50 billion from the federal government, making a case for extra financial help to meet its security cost and police department’s needs, according to officials.

A senior finance manager told Dawn that the centre had been informed that the province needed the money to buy modern gadgetry for its police force, improve surveillance and meet security cost in the wake of militancy. “The request for the extra financial support was made at the highest level,” he said.

The provincial government has moved the federal government after, according to sources, police department sought funds from it to materialise plans vis-à-vis modernisation of the force.

“The police high-ups have got a long wish list of buying modern weapons for the force, installing closed-circuit television cameras at important public places, imparting training to the force and alike,” said another official, privy to the matter.

According to one official account, the provincial finance department received a request some months ago for providing Rs25 billion for the police establishment to materialise its plans.

Since the province didn’t have an ample fiscal space to provide the funds, said the official, the matter was taken up with the federal government.

In this respect, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak made a formal request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting between the two in the last week of January this year.

“The demand for providing Rs50 billion made part of a long list of issues that the provincial chief executive raised at the meeting with Mr Sharif, underlining Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s growing needs to improve its security apparatus,” said the finance manager.

He claimed that the request for additional funds did not draw an instant blank reaction from the premier. “He asked Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to have a meeting with the provincial government and look into the matter,” said the official.

He, however, said that the finance minister had not yet responded to the request even after two months of the meeting between the prime minister and the chief minister.

Officials holding important positions, in their background interviews with Dawn, did not appear optimistic about the requested money coming from the federal government.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been receiving a hefty amount every year from the Federal Divisible Pool (FDP) to meet its growing security costs in line with a decision of the current National Finance Commission award.

As per the provincial government’s budget for the current fiscal, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will receive over Rs22 billion as one per cent subvention from the FDP this year. Similarly, the province is projected to receive around Rs25 billion in the financial year 2014-15 under the same head.

“With this subvention money coming, I don’t think the centre would give another Rs50 billion amount for beefing up security,” said a knowledgeable source. There also exists a discord among different departments of the provincial government about the police’s actual requirements.

“They need money for training, that sounds a genuine need, but buying modern guns, vehicles, CCTV cameras, and other modern gadgetry is a grey area in view of the under-trial former IGP Malik Naveed episode,” said an official holding important position.

The former IGP is accused of his involvement in a multi-billion rupees corruption case that also involves a brother and brother-in-law of former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police’s annual budget registered a seven time growth during the past eight years. “Its budget has gone up from around Rs4 billion to Rs5 billion in the financial year 2004-05 to close to Rs30 billion this fiscal,” said an official.

However, the home and tribal affairs department holds a different opinion, making a case for the force to be equipped and trained well.

“Their needs have to be determined and fulfilled by analysing the growing security needs of the province in the post US-withdrawal Afghanistan,” said an official of home department. He said that after the US withdrew its majority troops from Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a potential to see a surge in its Afghan refugee population. Another refugee influx from Afghanistan, according to the official, can’t be ruled out after the US forces’ departure from Afghanistan.

“A further surge in militancy and terrorism in the province stands a strong possibility in the months to come after the US forces’ departure from Afghanistan,” said the official, holding important post.

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