PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday passed the supplementary budget worth Rs234 billion for the outgoing financial year, after the opposition members withdrew their cut motions.

Ironically, a lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Faheem Ahmad, also presented two cut motions that perturbed the treasury members. The lawmaker, who belongs to Peshawar district, claimed that the provincial government recently released over Rs200 million, before the by-elections in Swat district while Peshawar was being ignored.

Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra promptly intervened and requested Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, who was presiding over the proceedings, to put cut motions for vote. Instead of further debate on the controversial cut motion, the chair put it for vote. The said cut motion was then defeated.

Earlier, the opposition members withdrew their cut motions after reaching an understanding with the government.

Cut motions by ruling lawmaker perturb members of treasury benches

The issue of the kidnapping of Afghan carpet dealers in Peshawar also echoed in the house. Awami National Party MPA Sardar Hussain Babak, while speaking on a point of order, said that a group of gunmen, dressed in the provincial police uniform, was involved in the kidnapping of Afghan carpet traders.

He said that the thugs, impersonating themselves as police officials, forced the businessmen into police vehicles and took them away to unknown locations. He said that around six Afghan traders had been kidnapped during the last eight months. They were released after their families paid millions of rupees as ransom.

Mr Babak said that an Afghan carpet dealer, Najeeb, was bundled into a police vehicle in the city’s Faqeerabad area last week. He said that the kidnappers had demanded $1 million ransom from the family of Najeeb. He said that Najeeb was still in the captivity of the kidnappers.

He asked the government to constitute a high level committee to look into the serious matter. He said that Afghans and Pakhtuns were being victimised on their own land. He said that ANP would continue to struggle for the rights and safety of Pakhtuns. He said it was the responsibility of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to detect the network involved in the criminal activities.

Minister for Labour Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, while responding to the point of order, said that the inspector general of police would present his report in that particular case. He said that the security of people, including Afghan nationals, was the responsibility of the government. He claimed that there had been a big decrease in extortion and kidnapping for ransom cases in the province.

Later, the session was prorogued.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2022

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