Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo addresses a press conference at Quetta Press Club.—INP
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo addresses a press conference at Quetta Press Club.—INP

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has said that the next year’s budget of the province suffers from huge deficit because the federal government has failed to fulfil its promise of giving the province its due share under the Public Sector Develop­ment Programme (PSDP).

Talking to reporters at the Quetta Press Club on Sunday, he deplored that the Centre had also failed to announce the new National Finance Commission (NFC) Award over the last four years.

“Our funds are being spent on the development of Punjab,” Mr Bizenjo claimed, adding that Balochistan was facing a financial crisis.

He said that with the passage of time the financial condition of the province was worsening and if the situation was not reversed and the federal government did not change its attitude towards the province, no resources would be left with the Balochistan government for its annual development programme in the next three years.

Centre accused of withholding Balochistan’s share of PSDP funds

“We had no other option but to cut development budget to provide funds for non-development expenditures,” the chief minister said, adding that the federal government was not giving Balochistan’s due share in the federal funds which had badly affected development projects of the province.

Mr Bizenjo said that due to huge deficit, the Balochistan government could allocate only Rs88.2 billion for the annual development programme in the total budget of Rs352 billion.

He said that development projects under the federal PSDP could not be implemented in the province because of this state of affairs.

“Islamabad must change its attitude towards Balochistan and give its due share in the federal funds,” he said.

He said the federal government was only interested in the development of Punjab and it had ignored Balochistan and other less populous provinces.

“We have also got no benefits from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) so far. Motorways and highways are being constructed in Punjab and other development works are being done only in Punjab,” Mr Bizenjo said.

He said that only N-85 was constructed in Balochistan due to pressure from former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif.

He said that after coming to power, the new government made the government machinery functional and started implementing development projects, but its efforts were affected due to some verdicts of the judiciary.

“Because of these verdicts, the chief minister even cannot use his discretionary funds approved by the Balochistan Assembly in the current financial year’s budget,” Mr Bizenjo said. He said the provincial government would now approach the Supreme Court to reverse these verdicts.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had also put a ban on new recruitments and this restriction had hampered the process the government had started to provide jobs to around 22,000 jobless educated youths of the province on merit.

Referring to the law and order situation, the chief minister said it had improved a lot and praised the role of law-enforcement agencies in this regard.

He said that terrorists were coming from across the border in Afghanistan and in order to stop them from illegally entering the country, the government had fenced the border along Afghanistan.

At the end of the press talk, the chief minister handed over a cheque for Rs10 million from the annual grant of the provincial government to the president of the Quetta Press Club.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2018