PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday witnessed ruckus as the treasury and opposition members protested against the government over denial of oil and gas royalty to the districts concerned.
The protest began at the outset of the session and lasted until its adjournment by deputy speaker Prof Mehar Taj Roghani, who was in the chair.
Adviser to the chief minister for prisons Malik Qasim Khan from Karak, who was also among the angry lawmakers, came down hard on his own government for withholding the share of Kohat division in oil and gas royalty.
Kohat division consists of three districts, including Kohat, Hangu and Karak.
The adviser claimed that finance minister Muzaffar Said had promised on the floor of the house eight months ago that oil and gas royalty payments would be made to Kohat division in the next 10 days, but the promise was still unfulfilled.
The finance minister had promised on the ruling of the speaker but in vain.
CM advisers among protesters; minister promises to take up matter with Pervez Khattak
Participating in the debate, adviser to the chief minister on population welfare Shakeel Khan regretted that his government had not paid royalty to Malakand during the last two years.
“Royalty in the net hydel profit is the right of the people of Malakand but unfortunately, they’ve been denied it for no reason,” he said.
Parliamentary leader of the PPP Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha said royalty share of Malakand was Rs440 million but the provincial government had released only Rs20 million.
“It is injustice,” he said.
MPA Amjad Afridi from Kohat continued his protest against the non-release of over Rs6 billion royalty to his region for the second consecutive day blowing a whistle.
“If I don’t protest in the house for the rights of our people, then where I should go,” he said when some members requested him not to blow whistle.Responding to the criticism, information minister Shah Farman said oil and gas royalty was the right of Kohat division.
“Let me discuss it with the chief minister,” he said adding that there is a justification for the demand of Mr Afridi.
PPP MPA Fakhar Azam protested after the chair deferred his questions about the health department for the fourth time.
He wondered why his questions hadn’t been taken up for a long time.
The PPP member and other lawmakers asked the chair to table questions, which she had earlier deferred due to the absence of law minister Shahram Tarakai.
ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak objected to the way the chair managed the house.
He said the chair should act impartially but unfortunately, it hadn’t happened since the current assembly was elected.
“The speaker and deputy speaker have been trying not to bring such issues on the floor of the house, a move, which can defame or embarrass the government,” he said.
The house also offered Fateha for human rights activist and prominent lawyer Asma Jahangir, who had died in Lahore on Feb 11.
It amended the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013, empowering the government to allow the deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner or assistant director local government to utilise the LG funds in the of local council or local government.
Local government minister Inayatullah Khan introduced an amendment to the relevant law in this respect, which was approved by the house.
He also tabled the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The chair adjourned the session until Friday.
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2018