PESHAWAR: Leader of opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Akram Khan Durrani on Thursday claimed that the last federal government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan denied around 56 per cent of the Rs300 billion funds pledged for the development of tribal districts during its over three years tenure.
“[Former prime minister] Imran Khan had pledged Rs100 billion every year for bringing tribal districts on par with rest of the country, but his government released only Rs130 billion in the three years,” Mr Durrani told the house while beginning a debate on the provincial budget proposed for the financial year 2022-23.
The PTI-led provincial government had announced the Rs1.33 trillion budget in the assembly on June 13 setting aside record Rs418 billion for development projects.
Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan chaired the session.
Durrani alleges corruption in health insurance scheme, equipment purchase
The opposition rejected the provincial government’s recent criticism of the federal government over ‘funding cut’ for the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the next fiscal.
He asked the PTI’s central and provincial leadership to inform the people if the party’s government launched any remarkable project in tribal districts during the last three years.
Mr Durrani appreciated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for announcing the establishment of a university and allocating huge funds for colleges during a recent visit to North Waziristan tribal district.
He said the province’s own revenue and foreign assistance was 29 per cent of the annual budget, while the gap was filled through federal transfers and if those federal transfers were delayed or stopped, then the provincial government would collapse financially.
The opposition leader said it was not mere an announcement and instead, it had been reflected in the federal government’s Public Sector Development Programme.
He asked the treasury members, especially finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, about what the last PTI-led federal government did for the province.
Mr Durrani said the residents wanted to know about how much funds the province had received as its share in the net hydel profit as well as royalty on petroleum products and gas produced in the province.
“If there is any revenue increase under these heads, then the government should share its details with this house,” he said.
The opposition leader said the PTI ruling the province for nine years should inform the people if any increase in the local oil and gas production has been made.
He came down hard on the provincial government for ‘hiding information’ in the budget documents, especially about the release of funds and expenditure, from the opposition
“The PTI government has provided us [legislators] with a bundle of large budget books and it is impossible to go through them. We have been denied the small booklet called Annual Budget Statement, which, besides disclosing financial numbers, also shows missing budgetary things and flaws,” he said.
The opposition leader alleged corruption in the purchase of equipment during the coronavirus pandemic and the provincial government’s Sehat Sahulat Card health insurance scheme and demanded the production of the relevant information in the house.
About the ongoing incidents of forest fires in the province, he said he had requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to order inquiries by the Federal Investigation Agency and Intelligence Bureau to ascertain reasons for blazes.
Other lawmakers also participated in the debate.
The chair later put off the session until today (Friday).
Published in Dawn,June 17th, 2022