PESHAWAR: Opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday blasted the government for allocating funds from the provincial annual development programme to MNAs of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Starting a debate on the unavailability of funds for the ongoing development schemes in the province and release of funds to MNAs, the opposition members said they reserved the right to go to the court against discrimination in the allocation of funds by the provincial government for development schemes.

Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan chaired the sitting.

The opposition members claimed that the provincial government was facilitating its MNAs from the ADP to carry out development schemes in their respective constituencies, which was unlawful.

Threatens to take govt to court over funding ‘discrimination’

Muttahidda Majlis-i-Amal member Inayatullah Khan said the PTI was setting wrong precedents by giving a share to the MNAs from the provincial exchequer.

He said the government had violated decisions of the high court in that respect.

Mr Inayatullah said the departments and MPAs identified schemes and therefore, MNAs had no right to get funds from the provincial ADP.

He lamented the government for ignoring the opposition MPAs for the funds’ allocation for development projects.

The lawmaker said the orders of the Peshawar High Court were not implemented and the government had allocated millions of rupees to the treasury for schemes in the ADP.

He said the government and opposition had agreed on a formula for the allocation of funds and a five-member committee was also constituted to work out criteria for judicious and equitable distribution of development funds, but unfortunately, the panel had never met.

Taking part in the discussion, Awami National Party member Khushdil Khan advocate said every MNA of the ruling party had got Rs200 million from the ADP for schemes in own constituency.

He said Rs500 million had been given away to the chief minister and finance minister each for development projects in their respective constituencies.

The lawmaker said he had got only Rs30.5 million showing discrimination in allocation of funds.

He said he wrote a letter to the chief minister against inequality but didn’t receive any reply.

Mr Khushdil said the taxpayers’ money should not be considered as the PTI’s funds.

He said the government had committed a contempt of court over the allocation of funds and he would take it to the court again.

The lawmakers will continue discussion on the funds’ allocation next Monday. During question hour, minister for law and parliamentary affairs Sultan Mohammad Khan informed the assembly that work on two approach roads to the Sheikh Badin tourist resort in Dera Ismail Khan would begin very soon.

He said the two roads had been included in the current ADP and the chief minister had ordered the calling of a meeting of the Provincial Working Development Party (PWDP) for the approval of the schemes by the end of Oct.

He said the construction of roads would begin very soon.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by MPA Khushdil Khan, adviser to the chief minister on higher education Khaleequr Rehman said the Universities Act was being amended and the bill would be put up in the cabinet’s next meeting.

He said 120 candidates for the post of vice-chancellors had been shortlisted and their names would be sent to the scrutiny committee.

The government introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forensic Science Agency Bill, 2020, in the house to establish an agency for the forensic examination of documents, materials, equipment, impression or other objects.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Antiquities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was also introduced.

A resolution, which was unanimously passed, condemned a French magazine for announcing the reprinting of blasphemous caricature.

The resolution said the magazine was trying to hurt the feelings of billions of Muslims and that it could destroy global peace through such acts.

The lawmakers asked the federal government to make diplomatic efforts to stop the re-printing of caricature.

The house passed with a majority vote another resolution moved by the MMA lawmakers asking the federal government to take measures to officially celebrate Sept 4 as the Modesty Day in the country.

The ANP opposed the resolution with its parliamentary leader, Sardar Hussain Babak, saying some political parties highlighted such issues for political gains.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2020