LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allied parties’ parliamentary party meeting on Monday agreed that the provincial government would provide funds for development schemes proposed by PTI MPAs. Each MPA’s scheme will be allocated up to Rs100 million.

For the constituencies won by PML-N, PPP and independent MPAs, the Punjab government and its departments concerned would consult PTI ticket-holders and local leaders to assess and allocate funds for development.

“The government has calculated that each MPA’s schemes will be executed for up to Rs100 million,” the chief minister’s spokesman, Dr Shahbaz Gill, told Dawn. He further said no MPA would be given funds in cash and all the development schemes would be executed by the government departments concerned.

The parliamentary party meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who was flanked by Law Minister Basharat Raja and Local Governments Minister Aleem Khan at the chief minister’s secretariat. MPAs from the PTI and its allied parties attended the meeting.

The meeting was told that the Punjab government had received development proposals from ruling and allied party MPAs, while government departments were assessing and surveying areas from where opposition MPAs had won.

Some MPAs objected that government funds in Bahawalpur were given to the local government chairmen, who accommodated their party -- PML-N -- members instead of consulting ruling PTI’s MPAs.

There was some dissent over most of the funds going to south Punjab for various mega development schemes, including roads, intersections, parks in the CM’s home district of Dera Ghazi Khan and hometown Taunsa. The chief minister had also approved a summary of Rs5 billion for the construction of 5,480 houses in the district under the Naya Pakistan Housing Project.

The chief minister also took PTI and allied party MPAs into confidence over the tabling of three bills in the Punjab Assembly and urged them to ensure their presence in the House for the passing of bills. The bills were Punjab Prevention of Conflict Bill, Right to Service Bill and Domestic Workers Bill.

The meeting also discussed the treasury’s move to amend the rules of procedure and allow the production of jailed MPAs during an assembly session. Some MPAs objected that the government should not amend the rules to allow “thieves and dacoits” to come out of jails and attend the assembly session.

As the Punjab government is reviewing the performance of provincial ministers, the CM said that they had been given complete autonomy and needed to perform at their optimum level. The decision to replace those ministers, who did not perform up to the mark, will be taken by the prime minister. He also told ministers and advisers to visit various districts and hold meetings with ruling party MPAs and advisers there.

Law Minister Raja said three bills would be tabled in the Punjab Assembly for approval and amendments made to the rules of procedure regarding issuance of production orders. The party MPAs would also be encouraged to table private bills to serve the masses.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2019