PESHAWAR: The supplementary budget for the ongoing financial year sailed through the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly without debate and voting on demands for grant on Friday after the opposition boycotted the sitting apparently to protest the law minister’s proposal to pass the document without any discussion on cut motions.

Before starting the proceedings a delegation of the treasury members, including the finance and law ministers, met Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani in his chamber and sought his help for passing the supplementary budget without filing their cut motions.

A debate on the supplementary grant concluded on Thursday.

Law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan informed Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani that the treasury had discussed the matter with the opposition and requested the latter to withdraw their cut motions.

Akram Durrani turned down the treasury’s request and insisted that his colleagues would boycott the sitting if the government called for withdrawing cut motions.

Opposition boycotts sitting against proposal to approve document sans discussion on cut motions

The opposition members later walked out of the house leaving the floor open for the government to pass demands for grant smoothly.

Like supplementary grant, the new budget was also passed without discussion on demands for grant after the speaker exercised his powers to axe debate on cut motions.

Earlier, the opposition leader criticised the government for ‘ignoring’ southern districts of the province in the new budget.

He said on the directives of the chief minister, funds had been diverted to non-ADP (annual development programme) schemes from communication sector to please few likeminded people.

Mr Durrani said a hefty amount had been allocated in the new budget for the hometown of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

He said the size of the area, population and backwardness were usually taken into consideration during budgetary allocations but the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had ignored those factors in the budget making.

“Southern region of the province consisting of seven districts have been ignored in the new ADP,” he said.

The opposition leader said a total of 117 schemes had been included in health sector in the new ADP of which southern districts would get only 12 schemes.

He said southern district did not get a single scheme out of 39 local government ones.

Mr Durrani said the people of southern region would not tolerate discrimination in the budgetary allocations.

He also came down heavily on the government for renaming the Akram Khan Durrani College Bannu as Bannu Model School and College and uttered harsh words for adviser to the chief minister on elementary and secondary education Ziaullah Bangash.

He warned the government to withdraw notification for the college’s renaming.

“I want to make it clear if the college is renamed, then nobody will see the name of Shaukat Khanum on hospitals,” he said.

Mr Durrani said cancer hospital was built on the government land in Peshawar.

He said the Shaukat Khanum cancer hospital should also be renamed as the provincial government had donated land for it.

Finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra rejected the complaints of the opposition leader about inequality in the funds’ allocation.

He claimed judicious allocation of funds for social sector schemes.

The minister said the construction of Bannu Bypass Road at the cost of Rs7 billion had been included in the ADP.

He said the ruling PTI didn’t believe in regional politics and that all districts were being treated equally.

The minister said the construction of hospitals in Kohat and Lakki Marwat was part of the development programme, while ADPs had been made for all districts.

Senior minister Atif Khan said Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust was a charitable organisation, which built hospitals using donations.

He said the government would rename airports and other institutions if the opposition took a stand on the issue.

The minister said the government might notify that no institution would be named after living persons.

The sitting was adjourned until July 5.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2019