PESHAWAR: Terming the ruling coalition in the centre a ‘mafia’, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Friday said the policies of the ‘imported’ government were creating hurdles to the launching of hydel power projects in the province.

“Until this mafia is in power [in the centre], no one will be able to promote clean and green energy in KP,” Mr Mahmood told the assembly during a speech on the provincial budget for the financial year 2022-23 after the approval of Rs1.33 trillion budget, including Rs418 billion development outlay.

He blasted policies of the federal government and said that an elected government was removed in the middle of the night, because of its independent foreign policy and pro-poor initiatives. His remarks against the federal government caused uproar in the house.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz member Ikhtiar Wali attempted to disrupt the speech of the leader of the house despite repeated warnings by the chair.

Terms ruling coalition in centre a ‘mafia’; PA passes Rs1.33tr budget

Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, who presided over the proceedings, asking him to stay calm and listen to the chief minister’s speech.

“I warn you under Section 227 of the provincial assembly rules and business against leaving your seat,” he reprimanded the PML-N lawmaker.

When Mr Wali continued with his protest, the chair called the sergeant-at-arms and ordered him to expel the MPA from the house.

The chair also placed a ban on the entry of opposition member for two days, including Monday and Tuesday.

Other opposition members neither show solidarity with him nor did they stage a walkout.

Earlier, before the start of the proceedings, the government and opposition members reached an understanding to pass the budget.

Food minister Atif Khan called on Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani and requested him to withdraw all cut motions for the smooth passage of the budget.

The house also passed the Finance Bill, 2022.

The chief minister said two parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party and PML-N, had been in power for the last 40 years.

He said Pakistan had received a total of 23 packages from the International Monetary Fund since Independence but the current ‘imported’ federal government blamed the last PTI government for the terrible state of the country’s economy.

“Regrettably, they [federal government] are blaming us [PTI] for their failures,” he said, adding that former prime minister Imran Khan put the country on the path of prosperity when it was on the verge of economic collapse.

Mr Mahmood said the country’s GDP growth rate was six per cent when the PTI government was dismissed.

“The Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was toppled because of its independent foreign policy, his bold stance in the UN regarding Islamophobia and Kashmir cause, pro-poor initiatives, and record increase in foreign remittances,” he said.

The chief minister said the ‘imported’ government’s polices had resulted in the sharp depreciation of the rupee against dollar, ‘unbearable’ power loadshedding, and record inflation.

He said the federal government had increased electricity rate by Rs5.27 per unit and was planning to introduce a fixed taxation system to increase the people’s misery.

Mr Mahmood alleged that the federal government was excluding mega projects of KP from the federal Public Sector Development Programme. He said the centre slashed ex-Fata’s current budget by Rs21 billion.

“If you are unable to govern the country, then why did you challenge us {PTI]? The imported government is seeking an NRO [for itself],” he said.

The chief minister said MoUs had been signed with South Korea, China and other countries for the launch of hydel projects in the province.

He also said industrial zone would be established in Chitral, Bannu, Kohat and other districts of the provinces.

Earlier, the opposition benches before withdrawing their cut motions for budget gave suggestions to the government for the improvement of the police, health, education, energy, food and other sectors.

Speaking on his cut motion, Awami National Party member Sardar Hussain Babak asked the government to hand over security to police and civil administration in the province. He said the police had the capacity and ability to eliminate terrorism.

Mr Durrani asked the government to pay Rs40 billion dues to the contractors.

He said the contractors would boycott the tendering process next month if the government did not increase their charges in light of the recent hikes in the prices of construction material.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022

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