PESHAWAR: Opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday insisted that the province’s budget for financial year 2021-22 was meant for the constituencies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s lawmakers and not for the whole province.
They flayed ‘discrimination’ by the government regarding the allocation of development funds, claiming that their constituencies have been ignored.
The house continued the debate on the 2021-22 budget for the second consecutive day with Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani in the chair.
The proceedings took place peacefully as the treasury and opposition parties had decided before the budget session to adhere to the traditions and norms.
MPA Samar Haroon Bilour of the ANP began the budget debate on the second day complaining there are discrepancies in figures highlighted by the finance minister in budget speech and those shown by the budget documents.
Claims uplift funds meant for constituencies of PTI members not entire province
She asked the speaker which figures she should consider correct.
The opposition lawmaker said the next budget was ‘flawed and biased and not fair’.
She criticised the government over failure to claim its constitutional revenue rights from the federal government.
Ms Samar said the province generated two billion electricity units, which were half of the country’s total ones, but the provincial government was unable to get its share in the net hydel profit.
Parliamentary leader of the ANP Sardar Hussain Babak said KP had never been liked by Islamabad, so rights were denied to it.
He said the government’s poor planning caused ADP development schemes to complete in five to six years, so the throw-forward liabilities in development sector had totalled Rs974 billion.
Mr Babak said the provincial government had no intention to serve its people as it hadn’t fighting for its rights with the federal government.
PPP member Nighat Orakzai asked the speaker not to provide budget documents to the lawmakers elected on reserved seats saying there is nothing for them in the budget.
She said the new budget was neither surplus nor balance and instead, it was a deficit budget.
JUI-F MPA Mehmood Bittani said Tank was one of the underdeveloped districts in the province but the new budget had not a single development project for it.
He complained that the development budget wasn’t made on need basis and instead, it was for the PTI lawmakers.
Mr Bittani said the government used development funds in the areas, which had elected the opposition members, through unelected PTI workers.
He said Tank district had only one hospital, which had no doctors and equipment due to the negligence of the health department.
MPA Jamshed Khan of the PML-N said funds allocated for development schemes had been distributed unjustly as mostly they’re given away to the constituencies of the PTI members.
He said the residents had an equal right to the province’s revenue as they contributed to it but the government was spending it only on the PTI voters.
Bilawal Afridi Afridi of the Balochistan Awmi Party demanded of the federal and provincial governments to fulfil the pre-merger promises for the development of former Fata.
Zafar Azam Khan of the JUI-F complained that no new scheme had been reflected for Karak district in the development programme of the province.
He said the ADP documents carried only two projects for Karak, including Gomal Zam Dam and Loghar Dam, which had been part of the programme since 2012.
The chair adjourned the session until today (Wednesday).
Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2021