PESHAWAR: The federal government has released only 37 per cent of its pledged funds for the rapid development of the merged tribal districts over the last three years, documents show.
Prior to the merger of Fata with KP, the federal government had promised the annual release of Rs100 billion for a decade to spur the rapid development of the war-torn tribal region.
The documents show that from 2018 to 2020, the federal government released Rs112 billion, which was 37 per cent of the Rs300 billion pledged funds. The funds were given away under the Accelerated Implementation Programme (AIP) and Annual Development Programme.
According to official documents, in the financial year 2018-19, the centre released Rs30 billion under the ADP and AIP against the pledged amount of Rs100 billion.
CM aide says Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan decline financial help to region
In 2019-20, Rs38 billion was released under both heads, while the funds released in 2020-21for the development projects in the region totalled Rs46 billion.
Breakdown of the sectoral allocations during the last three years showed that Rs19.25 billion was released for the roads sector, which amounted to 16 per cent of the total releases. On the contrary, a paltry sum of Rs10 million was given away to the environment department, which was Rs0.01 per cent of the total releases.
Also, Rs18 billion was released for education, Rs15 billion for healthcare, Rs13 billion for relief and rehabilitation, Rs9 billion each for energy and power, and water management and irrigation sectors, Rs8 billion for multi-sectoral development, Rs6 billion for agriculture and livestock, Rs5 billion for sports, culture, tourism and archaeology, Rs4 billion for drinking water and sanitation, Rs3 billion for industries and enterprise development, Rs2.5 billion for the rule of law, Rs2.2 billion for municipal and urban development, Rs0.8 billion for law and justice, and over Rs2 billion for 12 other departments.
When contacted, special assistant to the chief minister on information department Kamran Bangash told Dawn that it had been clearly reflected in the report of the Sirtaj Aziz-led committee that three per cent of the National Finance Commission Award would be spent on the development of the erstwhile Fata and that all provinces had endorsed it.
He, however, said only Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been contributing funds for the development of tribal districts, while the other provinces had categorically declined to make contributions for the purpose.
“Our [KP] government has raised the issue of the funds’ denial by other provinces at all forums, but in vain,” he said.
Mr Bangash said KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had repeatedly taken up the matter at the Council of Common Interest but other provinces had turned a deaf ear to the demand.
He claimed that KP had contributed to the ex-Fata development more than its due share and urged the Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan governments to extend financial help for the war-affected tribal areas.
Meanwhile, MPA Nisar Khan of Mohmand tribal district has complained that the federal government has failed to fulfil all the promises it made to the people of seven tribal districts during the merger of the region with KP.
He told Dawn that the federal government had not provided three per cent of the total National Finance Commission (NFC) and therefore, tangible development didn’t take place in ex-Fata even three years after its merger with KP.
“Disappointment is spreading among our people as the federal and provincial governments have ignored them due to which they’re thinking about a separate province for themselves,” he said.
The lawmaker came down hard on the provincial government for ‘usurping’ the resources of tribal districts.
He alleged that illegal mining had been taking place in all tribal districts with the connivance of the high-ups of the provincial government.
“The provincial government has not been awarding the due share to the seven tribal districts in the development activities executed through the annual development programme of the province. There are some tehsils in the tribal districts, which still don’t have educational institutions for girls,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2021