PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s top functionaries have issued directives to the three tiers of local bodies (LBs) across the province to ignore the development schemes already approved by nazims and instead execute the projects recommended by members of provincial assembly of the ruling party, according to official sources and former nazims.

The directives have been verbally conveyed to many heads of local bodies at the district, tehsil and village and neighbourhood levels, which created disputes among the former nazims and local government department officials.

Presently, the heads of local bodies include deputy commissioner at the district, tehsil municipal officer at tehsil and LG assistant director at the village and neighbourhood council levels.

Several former nazims and officials told Dawn that these schemes were ready for execution after completing all legal formalities at the end of tenure of the local government (LG) system in August this year.

Sources say funds now to be utilised on recommendation of ruling party MPAs

As per legal procedure, they said that LBs development schemes had to be first approved by the relevant district, tehsil or village and neighborhood councils and then by the respective development committees chaired by the nazims. The committee’s approval is followed by administrative approval, after which spadework is started on the project.

“Many ex-nazims of the village and neighbourhood councils (V/NC) and tehsil councils have approached me to advise them what to do after changes in their ready-to-launch schemes,” former district nazim, Mardan, Himayatullah Mayar told Dawn.

The sources said that the Provincial Local Government Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai and high-ups of the LG department had verbally conveyed such directives to the officials at the district, tehsil and V/NC levels, said Mr Mayar, who is also president of the Local Council Association, KP chapter.

“It is illegal to shift an approved development scheme from one place to another just to appease MPAs of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf,” he said. The former Mardan nazim said that many of the former LB representatives would go to court against the illegal directives.

The litigation would definitely delay the development schemes and result in cost escalation, he said, adding the masses would be the ultimate sufferers due delay in execution of the schemes. He said that because of the delay billions of rupees approved for such schemes would remain unspent for indefinite time.

Former district nazim, Shangla, Niaz Ahmed told Dawn that development schemes worth Rs180 million had been cancelled by the LG department which would be utilised in the areas to be identified by the local PTI MPAs.

He said that all legal procedures had been completed for the development schemes, but these were cancelled by the LG department for political reasons.

“I had floated tenders of development schemes in the local newspapers, which were also cancelled,” he said. He said that he had already filed a case with the Peshawar High Court, Mingora bench, against this illegal act of the government.

“I have been punished because I belong to the opposition PML-N,” he said.

One of the tehsil municipal officers told this correspondent that confusion prevailed regarding the unofficial directives of the local government minister and high-ups regarding the denial to execute the development schemes approved in the tenure of previous local governments.

He said that he had requested the provincial secretariat of the LG department to guide him about it, but in vain. Shahram Tarakai was not available for comments despite several attempts to contact him on his mobile phone.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019